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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2008 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



littp://www.arcliive.org/details/collectedpoemsofOObari 



THE COLLECTED POEMS 
OF MAURICE BARING 



THE COLLECTED 

: : POEMS OF : : 

MAURICE BARING 



LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD 
NEW YORK : JOHN LANE COMPANY MCMXl 



FLYMOUTM : WM. PHRSDON AND «>N, LTD., ntl!fT«»» 



6 :iz An ^' 



CONTENTS 

SONNETS AND LYRICS 

PAGE 

To H. B 3 

I too have travelled in the unknown land 

EXILE 4 

They with the world would have you reconciled 

" QUAND VOUS SEREZ BIEN VIEILLE " . . 5 

When you are old, no man will start to hear 

We drifted to each other like two birds .... 6 

You walked into the temple of a soul .... 7 

To ETHEL SMYTH 8 

Your singing brings the rustle of the trees 

You were the Queen of evening, and the skies . , 9 

ON WATTS' PICTURE OF PAOLO AND FRANCESCA 10 

Though borne like withered leaves upon a stream 

Shall I pretend that I no more perceive . . . .11 

The silver angel with sad sable wings . . . .12 

AEIPI0ES2A KAAT3 13 

She listened to the music of the spheres 

I dreamed that I was lifted to the skies . , .14 

And now the first cold numbness of the blow . . -15 

AFTER SEEING " ROMEO AND JULIET " . .16 

A tragedy ? Yes, for the ancient foes 



611597 

UBRAftV 



CONTENTS 

rACK 

star of dawn, descended from the sphere^ -17 

She is a vessel of mysterious snow . . 18 

Oh! something less than words, and something mor 19 

TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 30 

We have been loosened from the bonds of time 

DEMOPHOON 21 

We shall not look upon his face again 

We drift apart, nor can we quite forget . 22 

1 dare not pray to thee, for thou art won jj 

fiKTMOPOE 2A 

Gaily he rode into lif'.-'s tournament 

THE DEAD SAMURAI TO DEATH . 25 

I had not called nor prayed for thee to come 

THE DYING RESERVIST 26 

I shall not see the faces of my friends 

THE WOUNDED 27 

They turn us from the long-desired door 

My love is glad and strong as the salt sea . . . 2i 

VALE 20 

I am for ever haunted by one dread 
That skies and hills and seas and all things blue 10 

SPRING FLOODS 31 

You are the first-born crocus of the spring 

WRITTEN TO A YOUNG LADY ... 32 
I saw you in the tumult of the lire 

PALAMON TO EMELEY 33 

As sea-foam, as the rainbow's sprinkled shower 

THE CONSCRIPT 34 

It were disloyalty vou sav to chancre 

SONG 3> 

The sky is stormy .md rtii 

vi 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

SONG 36 

To hide my sorrow's secret smart 

BALLAD 37 

The roses in my garden 

CHANDRA (i) 39 

She is not wrought of perishable clay 

CHANDRA (2) 40 

Like far-seen palms in the desert air 

SONG 41 

The corn is garnered, the swallows fly 

BALLAD 42 

Mine eyes are dim and my wound is sore 

DIRGE FOR A POET 44 

I ponder on a broken lute 

CIRCE 46 

No more shall the sad, fallen Gods be seen 

BLOSSOM 49 

In silence, in the night, an angel came 

Farewell ! this is the last, the saddest tryst . . -Si 

VITA NUOVA . 52 

All these last years have been a winter dream 

THE SONG OF THE NAMELESS .... 54 
Oh ! who are these men marching in procession dark 
and long 

THE CLOWN 58 

There was once a poor clown all dressed in white 

SIGURD 59 

The king of men and heroes lay asleep 

vii 



CONTENTS 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

PAGE 

THE BLACK PRINCE AND THE ASTROLOGER (a 

SCENE FROM A PLAY) ...... 69 

The planets speak of an impending task 
THE DEATH OF THE BLACK PRINCE (a scene 

FROM A play) . . . . . • • 83 

Oh ! I am well content 

TRISTRAM AND ISEULT (A PLAY IN FIVE ACTS) 91 
Tristram, my friend, thou who hast been to me 

PROSERPINE (A MASQUE) 179 

Where does the Queen of the Fairies dwell ? 



SONNETS AND LYRICS 



SONNETS 



TO H. B. 

(with a rook of verse) 

I too have travelled in the unknown land, 
And anchored by the unfrequented shore ; 
I too have heard the Stygian waters roar, 
And seen the foam of Lethe kiss the sand. 

I too have trampled the enchanted grass. 
And seen the phantom hunters gallop by, 
And heard the fa^ry bugle, and the sigh 
Of banished gods that in the woodways pass. 

And as a traveller brings his spoil to him 
More richly graced in might and bravery, 
So do I give to you these records dim 

Of bright adventure in the fields forlorn ; — 
To you who heard the blast of Roland's horn, 
And saw Iseult set sail for Brittany. 



SONNETS 



EXILE 



TO A. 



They with the world would have you reconciled, 
Outgrow the impulse of these fantasies, 
These rebel storms ; and act in grown-up wise. 
They know not ; in your mother's arms you 
smiled ; 

And yet your soul with timeless memories 

Was sad ; and when old age shall claim you, 

child, 
Your heart with young despair shall still be wild 
And childish mirth shall still light up your eyes. 

Because a banished spirit in you dwells, 

That strayed from lands beyond the unfurrowed 

sea, 
And frets rejecting its captivity ; 

You hear the horns of the forbidden chase. 
The happy ghosts that down the woodland race 
And gallop through the trampled asphodels. 



SONNETS 



-QUAND VOUS SEREZ BIEN 
VIEILLE" 

When you are old, no man will start to hear 
That you were once more lovely than the day ; 
Old age may change but cannot take away 
From you ; and you will meet him without fear. 

Yet when you think of him who loved fair things, 
And singing of all beauty sang but you, 
Nor dreamed you guessed the secret of his strings. 
Then say : " Although he knew it not, I knew." 

I shall be dead and mid the shadowy throng 
In the long twilight I shall not forget ; — 
You still will tread the earth with royal grace ; 

And if you smile remembering my song, 
A moonbeam to the kingdoms of regret 
Will come and flood with light the sunless place. 



SONNETS 



We drifted to each other like two birds, 
That meet high in the windy middle air, 
Then fly away again ; each unaware 
That there had passed between us silent words. 

Then like two pilgrims, tired and travel-sore 
We sought for shelter from the rising tide 
Of night, in the dark hollow mountain-side. 
And, mutually remembering, met once more. 

But when the morning came and we looked down 
Upon the glittering cities of the plain. 
We lingered in the lonely crag content ; — 

The world which cannot know the hills will 

frown ; — 
But sweet and blissful is the banishment 
In the high pinnacles of wind and rain. 



SONNETS 



You walked into the temple of a soul ; 

You scanned the height, the depth, and each 

recess ; 
You praised the silvery sombre loveliness ; 
You heard the multitudinous organ roll. 

Behind the towering altar, sad and pale, 
An angel stood and uttered mournful sighs ; 
And, answering the question in your eyes, 
The angel pointed to a hanging veil. 

You tore aside the veil, a dreadful gleam 
Revealed the sights you had not feared to see. 
And a great darkness fell upon the shrine. 

You wept, but not your pain nor the lost dream 
You pitied ; but that this sad thing should be ; — 
And then once more the temple shone divine. 



SONNETS 



TO ETHEL SMYTH 

Your singing brings the rustle of the trees, 
The tall trees sighing on the mountain-side ; 
It brings a whisper from the foamless tide 
That broadening fills the ample estuaries. 

Your singing brings the freshness of the breeze 
That comes at twilight to the breathless plain ; 
The cry of moaning ghosts that call in vain 
From wandering prisons in the winds and seas. 

Your singing brings to me the final peace, 

Dissolves the torment of perplexity 

And guides my spirit to a tranquil home ; — 

As when the moon compels the storm to cease 
And calms the wind ; and all the skeins of foam 
Unravel softly on the vanquished sea. 



8 



SONNETS 



You were the Queen of evening, and the skies 
Were soft above you, knowing you were fair, 
The dewy gold of sunset in your hair. 
And twihght in the stillness of your eyes. 

You did not know your dear divinity. 
And childlike, all unconscious that you walked 
High in celestial air, you smiled and talked. 
And stooped to pluck a rose, and gave it me. 

As at the gate of heaven an angel-child 
Might wonder at an outcast's pleading gaze, 
An outcast kneeling at the golden bars. 

And say : " Come, be my playmate, here the days 
Are longer, and the ways outside are wild. 
And you shall play with suns and silver stars." 



SONNETS 



ON WATTS' PICTLHE OF PAOLO 
AND FRANCESCA 

TO A. V. M. 

Though borne like withered leaves upon a stream, 
Faded and dead, they would not live again, 
Nor, in the hard world, face the wiles of men ; 
Their past is but the haunting of a dream. 

And yet they would not sleep in asphodel. 
Nor, for without remorse is their regret, 
Drink deep of bliss and utterly forget ; 
Not for all Heaven would they exchanee their 
Hell. 

And they give thanks because their punishment 
Is sealed and sure, because their doom shall be 
To go in anguish through Eternity, 

Together on the never-resting air. 
Beyond all happiness is their content 
Who know there is no end to their despair. 



lO 



SONNETS 



Shall I pretend that I no more perceive 
The peerless worth of your high quahties ? 
And say your precious words are honeyed lies 
Which my conceit compels me to believe ; 

And vow your lips divinely do deceive ; 
Call false the unclouded earnest of your eyes 
And artificial the pure tears that rise, 
When you take pity and with passion grieve ? 

Shall I forswear my faith in Truth and Right ? 
Acknowledge only God's black cruelty ? 
Yet if I bow but to an impious might, 

More great and blind my faith in you must be ; 
For you are Heaven and Hell and Day and Night, 
And Sun and Moon and Providence to me. 



II 



SONNETS 



" To that high capital where kingly Death 
Keeps his pale court in beauty and decay.'* — Shelxit. 

TO E. M. 

The silver angel with sad sable wings 
Flew down to meet her in the dewy field, 
And broke her happy song half-way, and sealed 
Her singing with the kiss of silent things, 

And bade her seek the dark and banished land. 
She did not raise wet, wistful eyes, nor pray 
With outstretched arms for one, for one more 

day,_ 
But to his shining hands she gave her hand. 

She looked not back, though she remembered 

much. 
But steadfastly she climbed the darkling stair. 
And followed firm the strange and glistening 

touch, 

Till in the whiteness of the silent hall. 
Over her frozen eyes and faded hair, 
Queenlike she bound the scarlet coronal. 



12 



SONNETS 



AEIPI0E22A KAAYH 

TO E. W. G. 

She listened to the music of the spheres ; 

We thought she did not hear our happy strings ; 

Stars diademed her hair in misty rings, 

And all too late we knew those stars were tears. 

Without she was a temple of pure snow, 
Within were piteous flames of sacrifice ; 
And underneath the dazzling mask of ice 
A heart of swiftest fire was dying slow. 

She in herself, as lonely lilies fold 
Stiff silver petals over secret gold. 
Shielded her passion, and remained afar 

From pity. Cast red roses on the pyre ! 
She that was snow shall rise to Heaven as fire 
In the still glory of the morning star. 



13 



SONNETS 



I DREAMED that I was lifted to the skies 
And found her in the starless end of space ; 
There was no smile of welcome on her face. 
There were no tears in her immortal eyes. 

She did not recollect nor recognise ; 

But comfort, like a dawn, then seemed to break 

I said, " It is a dream, I shall awake 

And find her turning earth to Paradise." 

I wake, and know that nothing can restore 
My dearest to the Earth, to sight and sound ; 
I know that I no longer hope to soar 

And find her shining at the heavenly bound. 

She is of yesterday for evermore ; 

All my to-days are buried in the ground. 



H 



SONNETS 



And now the first cold numbness of the blow 
Is past, past also is the secret smart ; 
The dizzy panic of the helpless heart, 
And the rebellious tears have ceased to flow. 

Now all the world stands out distinct and sad. 
And laughter rings more hollow and more vain ; 
Grief seems more palpable, more plenteous pain, 
And the mad strife grows hour by hour more mad. 

Now I can say : " Thank God she is not here. 
Thank God that yonder safe upon the shore 
She sleeps beneath the cold and boundless night, 

And hears the wailing of the waves no more. 
Nor moan of men, in careless fortune's might, 
Who cry for help, and as they cry despair." 



15 



SONNETS 



AFTER SEEING -ROMEO AND 
JULIET " 

A TRAGEDY ? Ycs, for the ancient foes, 
When fateful friendship sealed their perished feud 
Not tragic for the wooer and the wooed 
Was life's untimely, undividing close. 

The timorous maid aroused by love arose 
A fearless wife. The idler who pursued 
His glittering aims, a vain and petty brood, 
Through love attained to manhood and repose. 

The two transfigured natures blent in one. 

And this full, perfect, passionate unity. 

For rough and dusty Earth too bright and high, 

Sank in great calm, as dreaming unison 

Of darkness and midsummer sound must die 

Before the daily duty of the Sun. 



i6 



SONNETS 



STAR of dawn, descended from the spheres, 
From space of gold and snow and flaming zone ; 
Princes there were enough among your peers 
To live and love and die for you alone. 

You were the Goddess of a guarded shrine, 

1 was the beggar lingering at the gate ; 
You left behind the pomp and solemn state. 
You sought the Earth discrowned and twice 

divine. 

Now you have laid aside your diadem, 
And bound wild roses in your royal hair, 
And I may kiss your shining garment's hem. 

Truly my soul has scaled the rainbow stair ; 
The world lies glistening like a fiery gem, 
And all the stars are singing in the air. 



17 



SONNETS 



She is a vessel of mysterious snow, 
A water-lily anchored in dark reeds, 
That in the evening's violet afterglow 
Unfolds its hidden heart of flaming seeds. 

She has the halo of the lonely moon. 
And round her floats the jessamin's faint musk, 
With summer birds and bees she is in tunc 
And silvery moths and the delirious dusk. 

In the green twilight of her leafy bower 
She gave me water from a whispering well, 
And there, a secret sun, she shone for mc. 

Now I am banished from the ecstasy, 
Her face has filled the imperishable hour. 
Sways like a phantom moon my soul in Hell. 



I8 



SONNETS 



Oh ! something less than words, and something 

more 
I'd need if I would write for you ; the spell 
That bids the wandering sounds in concord soar 
And opens wide the gates of Heaven and Hell. 

Then would I write you the sad melody, 
That only tells a loneliness forlorn 
It found in the dark heart where it was born, 
Yet speaks the groaning world's whole misery. 

Rising, it shakes the burden from its wings ; 
It soars triumphant to the sky and sings ; 
The veil is rent ; the clouds are scattered far. 

The listening soul was one with floods of light, 
And swam within that stillness infinite. 
Constant, eternal, one with every star. 



19 



SONNETS 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

We have been loosened from the bonds of time 
And space in vain divides us. Near or far, 
Absent, you shine before me like a star ; 
The hours when you are with me cease to chime. 

Sadness we know but not satiety ; 
We heed no march of seasons short or long, 
O'erwhelmed and deafened by the tides of song. 
Which roll increasing from eternity. 

For us the glory of the day is done ; 
And sunset melts in a long silvery dream 
Of darkness luminous with peace and dew ; 

We float, like ghosts upon death's endless stream. 
In bliss ; for only one soft unison 
Breathes in the empty vastness : I and you. 



20 



SONNETS 



DEMOPHOON 

We shall not look upon his face again ; 
The wanderer will return to us no more. 
Brief was the stay ! Yet how could he remain ? 
His soul was native to the ghostly shore. 

The shadows of dominions huge and dim, 
The scent of alien meadows far away, 
The breeze that blows from Lethe followed him, 
Home-sick for night, and weary of the day. 

And found he peace in lands beyond the sun ? 
The stillness that he craved, the dreamless home? 
Or stands he now beside the calling foam. 

Still waiting till at last the sail shall gleam 

And bear him from the place of dusk and dream 

To the full harbours of oblivion ? 



21 



SONNETS 



We drift apart, nor can we quite forget ; — 
Some link is lost ; and that affinity, 
That binds us not and will not set us free. 
Still tinges all our friendship with regret. 

And now I feel our hearts at last have met 
In perfect tune ; that God made you for me 
And me for you ; and now that He has set 
This veil between us, this mute mystery. 

Yet when I wash away the dust of earth, 

In the cool kingdoms of celestial dew, 

I think that you will meet me with a smile, 

The old smile made undying with new birth ; 
And I'll say this : " I loved you all the while." 
And you will say : " I loved you and I knew." 



22 



SONNETS 



I DARE not pray to thee, for thou art won 
Rarely by those by whom thou hast been wooed ; 
Thou comest unsolicited, unsued, 
Like sudden splendours of the midnight sun. 

Yet in my heart the hope doth still abide 

That thou hast haply heard my unbreathed 

prayer; 
That in the stifling moment or despair, 
I shall turn round and find thee by my side. 

Like a sad pilgrim who has wandered far, 
And hopes not any longer for the day, 
But bhnded by black thickets finds no way. 

Comes to a rift of trees in that sad plight. 
And suddenly sees the unending aisles of night 
And in the emerald gloom the morning star. 



23 



SONNETS 



fiKYMOPOS 

Gaily he rode into life's tournament, 
Gaily he ran at tilt to win the prize, 
April was in his heart and in his eyes, 
Death called to him and unafraid he went. 

Then pity those who grieve, but oh ! not him, 
Though taken from the sunlight to the grave, 
He shared the fortune of the happy brave. 
He tasted of a joy which grew not dim. 

The Fates when they beheld young Sigurd ride 
Fearless and happy through the roads of spring, 
To leap those flames which circled in a ring 

The glory of his unawakened bride ; 

Mindful of what the tragic years should bring. 

Whispered : " It is to-day he should have died." 



24 



SONNETS 



THE DEAD SAMURAI TO DEATH 

TO E. C. 

I HAD not called nor prayed for thee to come ; 

No favour of the Fates I bent to ask, 

I thought but of the momentary task : 

In the supreme bright hour my soul was dumb. 

Yet above all the rest 'twas here and now 
I longed to meet with thee, O beckoning friend ; 
Before the lightning of thine eyes to bow 
And follow thee to where the triumphs end. 

Therefore let those who gaze upon me here 
Discern no sadness in my staring eyes 
And no regret, they will not look for fear. 

I dared not hope to meet thee in this place ; 
Then let my smile speak rapture and surprise 
And with ineffable wonder stamp my face. 

Poutiloff's Hill, 

October 17, 1904 



25 



SONNETS 



THE DYING RESERVIST 

TO B. C. 

I SHALL not see the faces of my friends, 
Nor hear the songs the rested reapers sing 
After the labours of the harvesting, 
In those dark nights before the summer ends ; 

Nor see the floods of spring, the melting snow, 
Nor in the autumn twilight hear the stir 
Of reedy marshes, when the wild ducks whir 
And circle black against the afterglow. 

My mother died ; she shall not have to weep ; 
My wife will find another home ; my child, 
Too young, will never grieve or know ; but I 

Have found my brother, and contentedly 

I'll lay my head upon his knees and sleep. 

O brother Death, — I knew you when you smiled. 



26 



SONNETS 



THE WOUNDED 

TO H. C. 

They turn us from the long-desired door ; 
Here there is shelter for the sorely spent, 
But not for us ; since many a dying score 
Of maimed and mangled men, whose limbs are 
rent 

With bayonet and with bullet, crowd the floor. 
We who have fought since dawn, nor tasted bread, 
Although our wounds are slight, our wounds are 

sore, 
We must march on, nor shall we find a bed. 

O men, O brothers, is our rest not earned ? 
Shall we not seek the mountains huge and wide 
Whose doors are always open ? There the guest 

Sweet welcome finds ; for thou hast never turned 
A stranger from thy gates, nor hast denied, 
O hospitable Death, a place to rest. 

FUN-CHU-LING, 

October i6, 1904 



27 



SONNETS 



My love is glad and strong as the salt sea ; 
Thou art the moon above it, singly bright. 
Thou shalt discern me thus in thy still might ; 
Thus fathomless and wide my love shall be. 

And vast and dim with a green world of waves, 
And rich with pearls and gems and drifting weeds, 
And derelict hulls and wrecks of perished deeds, 
And oozy woods and undiscovered caves. 

But all this huge tumultuous element 

Shall whisper like a woodland stream, and sleep 

Calm as a slumbering child ; shall smile and weep 

In dreams of bliss, — obedient, soft and still ; 
For thou, my moon, from thy dark firmament 
Upon this sea shalt write thy silver will. 



28 



SONNETS 



VALE 

I AM for ever haunted by one dread, 
That I may suddenly be swept away, 
Nor have the leave to see you, and to say 
Good-bye ; then this is what I would have said : 

I have loved summer and the longest day ; 
The leaves of June, the slumberous film of heat, 
The bees, the swallow, and the waving wheat, 
The whistling of the mowers in the hay. 

I have loved words which lift the soul with wings. 
Words that are windows to eternal things. 
I have loved souls that to themselves are true, 

Who cannot stoop and know not how to fear. 

Yet hold the talisman of pity's tear : 

I have loved these because I have loved you. 



29 



SONNETS 



" Tarceque cUtait eile ; parceque c'itait mot." 

That skies and hills and seas and all things blue 
Are bluer for the light which filled your eyes, 
That nature's treasure-house of harmonies 
Is richer for the music that was you, 

Comforts me not ; nor yet the word sublime 
That speaks of the unknown immensity. 
Where we shall meet and understand, set free 
Forever from the bonds of space and time. 

You were a summer's day, all warmth and tune ; 
Your soul a harbour, dark beneath the moon. 
And flashing with soft lights of sympathy ; — 

But oh ! the seal of grief more than these things 
Is the old phrase that now so sadly rings : 
That you were you, and I, alas ! am I. 



30 



SONNETS 



SPRING FLOODS 



TO M. F. 



You are the first-born crocus of the spring ; 
The swiftest swallow from the Afric sands, 
That comes back twittering to the northern 

lands ; 
The song that larks o'er melted snowfields sing. 

You are the million melodies that ring 

At dawn, in dew-drenched woods. You are the 

hour 
When the frail almond-blossom breaks in flower, 
And you are sweeter than that blossoming. 

My life was like a frozen land ; but you 
Came like the sun ; the snows, in disarray, 
Made of the plain and meadows one broad 
stream. 

My perished hopes were leafless trees ; to-day, 
On the bright floods, by miracle made new. 
They float like shadows of a silver dream. 



31 



SONNETS 



WRITTEN TO A YOUNG LADY 

AFTER SEEING HER ASSIST AT THE EXTINGUISHING 
OF A FIRE IN A VILLAGE IN RUSSIA 

TO C. A. D. 

I SAW you in the tumult of the fire ; 
The flames unfurled a huge triumphant cloud. 
You were all white against the shadowy crowd, 
Like a calm priestess by a blazing pyre. 

The glare had made of night a glowing sea ; 
With the full moon aloof in starless skies. 
Your eyes outshone the fire ; your quiet eyes 
Had robbed the moon of her tranquillity. 

Surely before we both were born your face 
Once brought me quiet in a fatal place. 
When Troy was burned and all the dying men 

Looked up and saw fair Helen in the fire, 
And gladly fell. Ah ! You were Helen then, 
And I who died, I had my heart's desire ! 



32 



SONNETS 



PALAMON TO EMELEY 

As sea-foam, as the rainbow's sprinkled shower 
As perishable as the blossom's hue, 
Is this the verse I write in praise of you. 
The ghost of an imperishable hour. 

I saw you gathering here and there a flower, 
In the green garden where the lilies grew, 
I thought you were frail Venus, born of dew. 
As frail as the May blossom's fallen dower. 

I cast my flower of verse into the stream, 
That drowns like weeds, in its remorseless wave, 
The pride of Kings, the glory of the brave. 
But since your beauty tinges it, my dream 

Shall float for ever in this film of rhyme, 

A roseleaf drifting down the floods of Time. 



» 33 



SONNETS 



THE CONSCRIPT 



TO G. W. 



It were disloyalty you say to change 
Your roving birthright for a paper rose, 
And for a silver penny and brave clothes 
To swear away your spirit's reckless range. 

You will not sell your freedom for a plume, 
Nor let your soul be brutalized in drill, 
Nor break you to a meddling sergeant's will ; 
You that have access to the general's room. 

I claim a larger freedom. If in line 

I serve with others, all their strength is mine. 

The large consent uplifts me upon wings. 

And in the faces of the men that die. 

Obedient to the bugle, I descry 

The seal and mandate of the King of Kings. 



34 



LYRICS 



SONG 

The sky is stormy and red ; 

The wanderer comes from the west, 
He knocks at the door and dread 

Knocks at the heart in my breast ; 
Wanderer, what is thy quest ? 

Worse than the battle and rout 

Is the icy dwelHng within ; 
Empty and full of the shout 

Of the mirthless laughter of sin ; 
Wanderer, stay thou without ! 



35 



LYRICS 



SONG 

To hide my sorrow's secret smart, 
I often laugh till it breaks my heart ; 
When love is dead and despair has come, 
It is best for lips to be sealed and dumb ; 
When Love is dead, and Death is nigh, 
'Tis best to stifle memory. 
Nothing can quicken the withered flower, 
Never returns the once vanished hour ; 
My heart is dead and my tears are dry, 
'Tis best to stifle memory. 



36 



LYRICS 



BALLAD 



TO N. 



The roses in my garden 

Were white in the noonday sun, 
But they were dyed with crimson 

Before the day was done. 

All clad in golden armour, 

To fight the Saladin, 
He left me in my garden, 

To weep, to sing, and spin. 

When fell the dewy twilight 
I heard the wicket grate. 

There came a ghost who shivered 
Beside my garden gate. 

All clad in golden armour. 
But dabbled with red dew ; 

He did not lift his vizor, 
And yet his face I knew. 

37 



LYRICS 

And when he left my garden 
The roses all were red 

And dyed in a fresJi crimson ; 
Only my heart was dead. 

The roses in my garden 

U'crc- while in the n 
But they were dyed u. 

Before the day was done. 



38 



LYRICS 



CHANDRA 



TO n. 



(■) 

She is not wrought of perishable clay, 

But of some delicate essence thin and rare, 

Some texture whereof iris-dews are made, 

Or wings of dragon-flies, or petals of foam, 

Or the frail, iridescent, floating shell. 

In vain we liken her to star or flower ; 

Fairer is she than earthly semblances. 

She is a spirit wandered from the moon ; — 

A sigh, a melody made palpable. 

She moves as though she floated o'er the flowers, 

And the earth seems to fawn beneath her feet. 

And the sky seems to crown her as a Queen. 



39 



LYRICS 



CHANDRA 

(2) 

Like far-seen palms in the desert air, 

Like phantom isles hung over the seas, 
Like glistening haze in the noontide's glare, 

Or webs of silver on twilight trees : 
So thou seemest, a film of light, 

A baseless dream which at dawn must die ; 
Like dew of the morn or the snowflake bright, — 

Child of the moon, descend from the sky. 

Come, for the darkness has risen from earth. 

And the moon has breathed o'er the sleeping 
sea ; 
We are weary of toil, we are sated with mirth. 

We are fain to dream, and our dream is of thee. 
The moon and the stars and the lotus flower, 

The lilies and dusk are of no avail, 
For thou art the dream of the twilight hour 

And lotus and lily, O fair ! O frail ! 



40 



LYRICS 



SONG 



TO C. L. 



The corn is garnered, the swallows fly, 
The leaves fall soft on their wintry bed. 
There was a dream in the summer sky, 
And song, as soft as a rose's sigh. 
Why should I linger .? the dream has fled. 
The song is silent, the rose is dead, 

The ghost of the rose is in the air, 

The dead song speaks in the moaning sea ; 

After the dream is the long despair. 

The endless dusk and the unheard prayer ; 

" O Death come quickly and set me free, 

My friend is no longer kind to me." 



41 



LYRICS 



HALL AD 

Mine eyes are dim and my wound is sore, 
White sail, will you come to me ? 

My PVicnd, shall I never see thee more ? 
Be still, O moaning sea. 

Have you forgotten the cup of bliss ? 

White sail, will you come to me ? 
On the flying ship, and the first long kiss ? 

Be still, O moaning sea. 

Have you forgotten the forest trees ? 

White sail, will you come to me ? 
The vows we spoke to the stars and seas ? 

Be still, O moaning sea. 

I sought you once in a strange disguise ; 

White sail, will you come to me ? 
You knew not even my sad, sad eyes ; 

Be still, O moaning sea. 

" Call when you will, Til come," you said ; 

White sail, will you come to me .<* 
Come swiftly, or you will find me dead ; 

Be still, O moaning sea. 

42 



BALLAD 

The sail is black, they have hauled it high ; 

White sail, you came not to me ; 
I'll turn my face to the wall and die ; 

Be still, O moaning sea. 

Iseult, my life, my death, my friend ! 
White sail, there's no need for thee ; 

1 waited for you until the end . . . 
Still is the moaning sea. 



43 



LYRICS 



DIRGE FOR A POET 



I PONDER on a broken lute, 

The fragment of a song, 
And wonder if the soul be mute, 

Or if a heavenly throng 
Of harmonies and mighty themes 
Proclaim his interrupted dreams. 

The wistful thought, the hidden fire. 

The darkling prophecies, 
The passion and the brave desire 

That lit his startled eyes ; 
Oh ! will that br(^ken music reach 
Through large fulfilment unto speech ? 

And shall I meet him once again 

Upon the endless way ? 
East of the sun, where gleams the plain 

That knows not night nor day ; 
And in the calm untroubled land 
Will his wild spirit understand ? 

44 



DIRGE FOR A POET 

Like some soft fiery cloud that soars 

At sunset o'er the snow, 
He sought the pale unearthly shores 

Beyond the western glow ; 
And sank into the wave of night 
Before he reached the crimson light. 

Perchance to-morrow's western wind 

May bear to oceans dim, 
Mysterious clouds incarnadined, 

But never one like him. 
Shall nature stop the march of spheres 
Because of a few foolish tears ? 



Once only nature breathes each note 
That builds the song of time : 

No more across the skies will float 
That tender sunset chime. 

I loved ; and in the eastern skies 

A million morning stars arise. 



45 



LYRICS 



CIRCE 



TO R. B. 



No more shall the sad, fallen Gods be seen ; 
Weary of exile in the sullen world, 
Forgotten by the thankless mortal race ; 
They recollect the glory that has been ; 
Olympus once with starry snow impcarlcd 
Haunts and derides them in their chill disgrace, 
And thus they seek the dark and dreamless place. 

Some linger yet, and in the Tuscan hills, 
Where the pink rose-bush fringes the green 
corn. 
The swallows hear the song of Proserpine ; 
And oft Apollo with a glory fills 

A church on some Sicilian shore, forlorn. 
Where none but lovers seek the ruined shrine ; 
But lovers know and praise the light divine. 

Circe abides in her enchanted home. 
The rainbow circle of an opal isle, 
Set in a ghostly sea where no wind blows ; 
Yet few can find that faery bell of foam. 

46 



CIRCE 

And oft when through the night, a weary- 
while, 
Pilgrims have laboured, as the morning glows, 
It blossoms in the East, a pearly rose. 



Yet Circe too is changed, a listless shade 
Of her who paced before the golden loom ; 
For she has felt the waving of Death's wings, 
A pale immortal flower, she fain would fade ; 
Her life is dusk that deepens not to gloom ; 
Dumbly she feels the sharp regret that stings 
The darkened soul, the lapse of mortal things. 

Hushed is the music of the haunted well, 
Unvexed by sighing ghosts her woodland 
ways ; 
For Circe has renounced her perilous wand ; 
Nor seeks to capture men with any spell. 
They do but drink the pity of her gaze. 
They feel the solace of her flower-like hand. 
And dwell a moment in her still strange land. 

There in the emerald evening she bestows 
A silent pitying audience on her slaves ; 
And thence they sail into a wide despair ; 
Around her isle dark vapours seem to close, 
Before them lie unending wastes of waves, 
And dazed they think the vision blest and fair 
Was but a mirage of the mocking air. 

47 



LYRICS 

Henceforth as men that dream a lustrous 
dream 
Which Hngers through the brightness of the 
day 
And clings like subtle scent of herb or flower, 
They cannot but recall the halcyon gleam 
Of that green island in the world grown grey ; 
They see the pale witch in her dusky bower, 
Like a tall lily in the twilight hour. 

And some set sail and seek her isle once more 
Toiling until they sink into their grave ; 
But no man twice fulfils the phantom quest. 
And some await upon the desolate shore 
A pilot star to point across the wave, 
The sunset isle they find not in the West, 
Till Death upon their tir'd eyes sheddeth rest. 

But Circe watches from her jasmine throne, 
And when at sunset the dark waters shine, 
A sound of sighing trembles in the breeze ; 
The west wind brings the wistful pilgrims' 
moan, 
And Circe scans far on the dim sky-line 
The white sails of unnumbered argosies, 
Like flakes of snow upon the crimson seas. 



48 



LYRICS 



BLOSSOM 

TO A. C. B. 

In silence, in the night, an angel came, 

And breathed a song upon the wintry earth, 
And lit within its frozen heart a flame ; 

And the divine still mystery of birth 
Crept trembling through the slumberous fields 
and trees. 

With the first glimmer of the April morn. 
Some wondrous thing and new 
Spoke in the whisper of the dawn's cold breeze ; — 

The world, awakening through its tears of dew, 
Smiled, for in darkness blossom had been born. 

As though the dawn had flung to earth her veil. 

The dew-drenched blossom glistens in the sun ; 
Softer than snow, and as a mirage frail. 

It hangs in blushing films divinely spun. 
What silent plotting powers have planned this 
sight ? 

It is as though the never-resting loom 
Of time had ceased to ply ; 
And the thin web of hours had taken flight 

Before the advent of Eternity, — 
As darkness, when the dawn breaks into bloom. 

E 49 



LYRICS 

Alas ! the vision is a wistful smile 

Upon the cheating features of the hour ; 
Earth toils in travail, beauty is born, awhile 

To shine like flame, to wither like a flower. 
The fashioned wonders of man's hand and brain, 

The living marble, the immortal song, 
The poet's soaring dream. 
Rise like the blossom, like the blossom wane ; 

And on the moving surface of Time's stream 
Their life is neither briefer nor more long. 

Sorrow descends upon the mortal sight, 

Sorrow for beauty of fair things that fade. 
Till one strong thought ccjnsoles the hopeless 
night, 
That from the wealth of God, where worlds 
are made, 
(The Treasure-house that nothing can decrease), 
A never-ending tide shall ebb and flow ; 
The note must sound and die, — 
The eternal symphony shall never cease ; 

Divinely made, thought, shape and melody 
Shall come like blossom and like blossom go. 



^o 



LYRICS 



From a play 

Farewell ! this is the last, the saddest tryst ; 
For I am of the valley and the plain, 
And you are for the mountain and the mist ; 
Farewell ! we shall not say " Farewell " again. 

You will forget the swearing of the oath ; 
You were the wind and I the bending tree ! 
Alas ! I am the rock and you the froth, 
That lightly comes and goes upon the sea. 

Farewell ! your path is to the rising sun. 
But in the twilight I shall watch in vain ; 
For what is done can never be undone, 
And joy to me can never come again. 



SI 



LYRICS 



VITA NUOVA 

From a play 

All these last years have been a winter dream, 
Which makes the awakening of the Spring more 

sweet, 
For now it is the Spring, and I do meet you 
Among the flowers of April. God is kind. 
When hope in all things fair, when desperate faith 
In truth and good had perished utterly. 
When courage and endurance were nigh dead. 
You rise upon my life again. The spring 
Is here ; the trees are scarcely green, the earth 
Is sweet with tender shoots ; but you, too swift, 
Come bringing not the Dawn but the full noon ; 
Not Spring, but the whole majesty of Summer — 
The summer with his robe of gorgeous gold. 
Drenched with the blood of roses and of poppies ; 
Stiff with the splendid ripple of ripe corn ; 
Embroidered with the wings of dragon-flies ; 
His arms all laden with soft crimson fruit, 
Crowned with the sickle of the silver moon, 
And bearing the tall hollyhock for sceptre. 
Throned on the haze of noonday, with a noise 
Of turtle-doves, and bees, and nightingales : 

52 



VITA NUOVA 

His minstrels, bathed in a great cloud of fragrance, 
That sheds and scatters many million scents ; — 
Some warm from the mown hayfields, others cool 
From the moist haunts of floating waterlilies, 
Some languorous from the creeping jessamine. 
Some fresh and dewy from the honeysuckle. 
Some aromatic from the dying leaves 
Of strawberries, some dreamy from the pink. 
Some rich and riotous from the dark rose, 
Some heavy from the lily. And in his eyes, 
And drooping from the shadow of his hair, 
The softness of June twilight, and the rapture 
Of the star-haunted, hot, midsummer night. 



53 



THE SONG OF THE NAMELESS 

TO OTTO BENZON 

Oh ! who are these men marching in procession 

dark and long, 
To the sound of mournful music, and a tired 

triumphant song ? 
With torches, and with trumpets, and with 

banners red as blood ? 
They carry neither sword nor gun ; but there's 

a trembling thud 
Of a hundred thousand footsteps, and the sky 

re-echoes loud 
With the wistful marching murmur of the long 

dark crowd. 

Have you come to crown a Caesar ? to bury a 

dead king ? 
What is the secret message of the murmured 

song you sing ? 
Are you bearing a brave hero who has fallen in 

the wars ? 
Are you singing of his glory that is writ among 

the stars ? 
Are you leading saint or singer to be crowned 

with a gold wreath ? 
Are you mournful or exultant ? Is it life you 

sing, or death ? 

54 



THE SONG OF THE NAMELESS 

We are bearing a dead comrade to his final 

resting bed ; 
We are singing of the fallen, of the unremem- 

bered dead. 
The man we bring was of us, but we do not know 

his name ; 
He worked for us ; he fell before the hour of 

triumph came ; 
His body is our banner, and his soul our battle-cry, 
The emblem of the unknown men who in the 

darkness die. 

Why is your song so mirthless if the hour of 

triumph has come ? 
A million of our comrades are now lying stiff and 

dumb. 
Why are your ranks so sombre and your music 

soft and slow ? 
We marched through crimson rivers, and there 

still is blood to flow. 
Why are your faces worn and wan ? We come 

from very far, 
And not from fields of battle — all our life has 

been a war. 

How can our march be mirthful, when there's 

yet so far to go ? 
How can our song be joyous when there still is 

blood to flow ? 
But we've done what in all ages now can never 

be undone : 

55 



LYRICS 

We have torn away the curtain, we have let in 

the bright sun 
To the prison-house of darkness ; we have 

broken down the bars ; 
And nothing now can hide from us the sun, the 

moon, the stars. 

Sad is our marching music : it was born of our 

despair. 
But hark ! and you will hear the note of those 

who little care 
If their fate be death or exile, and dishonour and 

disgrace ; 
Who will give up mother, brother, friend, the 

darling one's embrace ; 
And without the martyr's glory, and without the 

hero's fame. 
Are content to die for freedom, and to leave 

behind no name. 

Sad is our marching music : but pay heed and 

you will hear 
The pulse of dumb resistance, and the heart 

that knows not fear ; 
The voices that cry out that truth is truth, the 

lie a lie, 
Which only Death can silence, and whose triumph 

is to die. 
We were weak and we were vanquished ; we 

were scattered, crushed and beat ; 
But, hark ! the hundred thousand come ! — the 

fruits of our defeat. 

56 ■ 



THE SONG OF THE NAMELESS 

Like bubbles on the water, and like helpless flakes 
of snow, 

We leave no trace behind us as we swiftly come 
and go. 

But the storms of God are brewing ; the moun- 
tains huge and dumb 

Will melt and loose the torrents, and the floods 
of spring will come ; 

The wonderful clean waters will descend and 
drown the earth. 

And all the morning stars shall sing at Freedom's 
hour of birth. 

And that is why we're marching in procession 
dark and long, 

To the sound of mournful music, and a tired 
triumphant song, 

With torches and with trumpets, and with 
banners red as blood. 

We carry neither gun nor sword ; but there's a 
trembling thud 

Of a hundred thousand footsteps, and the sky re- 
echoes loud 

With the wistful, marching murmur of the long 
dark crowd. 



57 



LYRICS 



THE CLOWN 



TO G. K. C. 



There was once a poor clown all dressed in white, 
In a dungeon, chained to the bars ; 

And he danced all day, and he danced all night, 
To the sound of the dancing stars. 

" O clown, silly clown, O why do you dance ? 

You know you can never be free. 
You are tied by the leg to the strings of chance, 

But you dance like captive flea." 

" My chain is heavy, my dungeon is dark, 

I know I can never be free. 
In my heart, in my heart there's a dancing spark, 

And the stars make music for me. 

" Oh ! muffle my cell and rivet my chains, 
And fetter my feet and my hands, 

My soul is a horse of foam without reins. 
That dances on deathless sands." 



58 



LYRICS 



SIGURD 



TO E. P. D. 



The king of men and heroes lay asleep, 
Lulled hy the murmurs of an inland sea. 
His army slept along the gleaming sand, 
Awaiting the great battle of the morn. 
Out of the sultry sky there seemed to fall 
Great drops of blood, and like a lonely ghost 
The pale sea cried, while in the purple west 
A star emerged not seen before of man. 
Outshining silvery Sirius and red Mars. 
And phantom armies ran upon the sea. 
And in the forest was a noise of wings. 

To Sigurd as he slept there came a dream 
Of a sad, shining Angel with veiled eyes 
And sable wings that rustled drearily. 
Like autumn leaves blown to the doors of men ; 
And bending down she spake. In the hushed 

night 
Her solemn words were sadder than the call 
Of Roland's horn resounding in the hills 
Of Roncevaux, when with his failing might 
He blew a farewell blast to Charlemain. 

59 



LYRICS 

And thus the Angel spake : " Make ready, 
Prince, 
I am the holy harbinger of Death. 
The Angel of the battle, I appear 
To men that unto Death are consecrate. 
To-morrow in the battle we shall meet ; 
Amid the lightnings of the broken swords 
Thou shalt behold unveiled my terrible eyes, 
And hear my fatal bugle-call ; and I 
Will bear thee swiftly through the starry ways 
Of night, and trackless space ; but thou must first 
Give ear unto the message of the gods. 

" Because thou hast been glorious in thy life, 
Flinched not, nor swerved from the tremendous 

task : 
Because thou hast endured calamity, 
And grief proportioned to thy mighty heart. 
The gods have stored a certain gift for thee. 
To-morrow thou shalt die. But though the gods 
Are impotent to join the severed thread, 
They bid thee choose the manner of thy life 
For all eternity." 

The angel sang 
Of high Valhalla where the heroes dwell. 
" A wondrous light shines in the Warriors' hall, 
And quiring stars intone their morning song. 
Say, wilt thou soar to loud Valhalla's hall. 
And take thy place among the vanished kings ? 
There shouldst thou drain the cup that overcomes 

60 



SIGURD 

All eating care, disheartening weariness, 
Anguish and memories, and heals the soul." 
Then Sigurd lifted his kind sea-grey eyes 
And smiled most sadly, as an aged Queen, 
Who once had seemed a dazzling garden-flower, 
Smiles wistfully to see her grandchild weave 
A coronal of daisies and wild grass. 
And Sigurd to the Angel answered : " No : 
For in the phantom feast, although the cup 
Should drown the memory of mournful things, 
Though steeped in slumberous ease, the restless 

soul 
Would in her dream uneasily regret ; 
And, as a vision captive in the brain 
Lies furled and folded, so the past would dwell 
Within the present. My desire would seek 
The shadowy years that beckon like far lights, 
The glimmering days I could not quite recall, 
The past I might not utterly forget. 
Moreover, her whom I have loved on earth, 
Brunhilda, in Valhalla would not dwell. 
And how without her could I dwell in bliss ? " 

And then her voice grew gentle as a flute 
Blown o'er the levels of a glassy lake 
At twilight. " Wouldst thou the dominion 
Of earthly paradises, pleasant fields. 
And chaliced lilies and white asphodel ? 
There are the orchards of immortal fruits, 
Lands ever golden with ungarnered corn. 
And yellow roses teeming with brown bees. 

6i 



LYRICS 

Like stars in a deserted firmament, 

Thou and Brunhilda shining will abide 

By crystal streams and cool melodious woods, 

Where nightingales and fireflies never leave 

The aisles of dusk ; or near some shadowed 

pool 
Starred with the water-lilies' golden shrines." 
And Sigurd smiled, " Nay, but the past would 

rise 
And drown in tears our unforgetting souls. 
As when the moon, a luring sorceress. 
Casting enchantment on the stealthy tide 
Compels the salt and bitter flood to creep 
And nestle in the inlets of the world, 
And fringe the darkling beaches with pale 

surf ; 
Thus round the island of our blissfulness 
The envious flood of memory would rise. 
Soon should we pine in listless apathy, 
And yearn in inconsolable regret." 

The angel questioned Sigurd once again : 
" Wouldst thou another world wherein to love. 
Labour and struggle on the battlefields 
Of old, and win the crown of bitter leaves ? 
Taste the fleet minute, dizzy and divine. 
Of rapture, and then feel the hand of Fate 
Withdraw the chalice from unsated lips ? 
The agony of parting, and the years 
Of treachery and falsehood ? the dark web 
Of poisonous deceit encompassing 

62 



SIGURD 

The love not slander nor the tongues of men 
Nor power of Gods might else have over- 
come ? 
Wouldst thou renew thy love, to be betrayed 
And fall beneath calamity once more ? " 

Then before Sigurd, like a pageant, passed 
The ghosts of all the ancient troubled years. 
He saw the forest where, a careless child, 
He lived in a green cave, while rustling leaves 
And sighing branches made a cradle song ; 
He saw the tall trees shiver in the dawn, 
And heard the dewy matins of the lark ; 
He trampled meadows of anemones. 
White crocus fields and lilies of the valley. 
Which paved with ghostly silver the dim floor 
Beneath the dome of Dawn, until they gleamed 
At sunrise through a cloud of mist and dew. 
As tapers through a veil of incense burn. 

Once more he wandered through the coverts 

green. 
And mocked the blackbird on his hemlock 

flute ; 
Through golden drowsy noons in the deep grass 
He lay half sleeping, and yet half aware 
Of woodland sounds and the delicious noise 
Of summer ; the warm droning insect-hum, 
Cuckoo and calling dove, and the cool glimpse 
Of speckled fishes in the running stream. 

63 



LYRICS 

And when the Twilight made the woodways 

dim 
And veiled the skies with a mysterious pall 
Of emerald, he would seek a dark recess 
Of leaves and moss, to sleep, while overhead 
Hesperus quivered in the liquid sky 
And nightingales made music to the moon. 

He saw again the years of wandering : 
The travel over many lands and seas, 
The years of service for an alien King, 
And at the last Brunhilda on the hill. 
Encompassed with a ring of snow-white fire. 
Once more he kissed the sleeping Queen to life 
And caught the splendour of her opening eyes. 
And in that daylight all the fire grew dim. 
And then a vision of the lagging years 
Revealed the mystery and all the threads 
Close-woven in the tangled loom of Fate — 
By reason of what spell unwittingly 
He won Brunhilda for an alien King. 
At length the awakening from the trance, the 

dawn 
Of sunless morning and the huge despair. 

Thus, in a dim procession, passed the years, 
The crowded years of his tormented life. 
And Sigurd said to the angel, " I have loved 
Once, and for ever, and in eternity. 
Such love as this can never be again. 

64 



SIGURD 

Though I were to be born in a new shape, 
And banished to the furthest star of Heaven, 
And though I drank of the obHvious wave, 
Yet if I met my love again, my soul 
Would recognise and clasp her, soul to soul. 
Then like to exile angels we should seem, 
Or children banished from the blissful years 
Of childhood, and returning there anew 
After long toil, not able to regain 
The childish soul, nor find the old delight. 
I that have battled though my soul despaired. 
And loved with love more great, more sad than 

death, 
I that have borne irreparable wrong. 
Which ages of bright bliss cannot repair ; 
I, knowing that the hour of Fate has come. 
Would fain at last possess the whole of peace. 
Let me be drenched in Death's divinest dew. 
Let me be cradled in immensity. 
Let me inherit all oblivion 

And the impregnable night of the dumb grave, — 
The night unvisited by any star, 
The sleep unvexed by any wandering dream. 
Then shall I be rewarded with the void. 
The inviolable darkness and the dust, 
The secrecy, the silence, and the sleep 
Unbroken by the struggling pangs of morn." 

So Sigurd chose. 

The morrow in the fight 
He beheld silver armour and the eyes 

F 65 



LYRICS 

Unveiled and terrible. Now once again 

He tasted rapture dizzy and divine 

And knew the Gods had heeded his one prayer. 

Then the strange star not seen before of man 

Sank in the inland sea as Sigurd died. 

And somewhere in the vastness Sigurd sleeps. 



66 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

THE BLACK PRINCE AND 
THE ASTROLOGER 

[a scene from a play] 



DRAMATIS PERSON.E 

Edward, the Black Prince. 
An Astrologer. 



THE BLACK PRINCE AND THE 
ASTROLOGER 

Interior of Astrologer'' s Tower in the Pyrenees 

Astrologer 

The planets speak of an impending task, 

A work of bitterness to be fulfilled 

Now, in the instant future. Who shall come 

To break the undisturbed serenity 

Of my long solitude ? The night is quiet, 

My sole companions are the wandering stars, 

Whose silence I can spell. \Goes to the window. 

But hark ! I hear 
The sound of trumpets in the hollow valley, 
And shifting torches flicker in the night. 
Again the trumpet calls. It is a camp, 
And I can hear the champing of the horses. 
The clank of men in mail. It is an army. 
Perchance a battle has been fought, perchance 
It is the eve of battle. Calling echoes 
Of horn and clarion wander in the valley ; 
And many hundred flickering torches flare 

69 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Down the dark depths. I hear a step. Perchance 
Some wounded man has come to me for aid ; 
Some shepherd. [y/ sound of knocking is heard. 

No, it is the visitant 
Of whom the planets spake. Come in, and wel- 
come, 
In Heaven's name, whoever ye may be. 

[Enter the Black Prince, alone. 

Astrologer 

Who art thou, stranger ? Crav'st thou food and 
shelter ? 

Edward 

I am a knight, the captain of an army, 

And what my name is boots not ; from the wars 

I have come hither. 

Astrologer 
Wherefore cam'st thou hither ? 

Edward 

My camp is in the valley, whence I spied 

A light that glimmered from a far-olf mountain, 

Like a bright beacon ; when I spake thereof. 

They of the village said a holy sage 

Dwelt there, and communed with the silent stars. 

They said that he held converse with the dead, 

And read the riddle of the skies. 



BLACK PRINCE ^ THE ASTROLOGER 

Astrologer 

I knew 
That thou should'st come. I read it in the sky. 

Edward 

I crave a boon, that you should lend me know- 
ledge 
To lighten me of my perplexity. 

Astrologer 

Unfold thy tale, and I will then afford 
The help I can. 

Edward 

It is a simple tale. 
I am a captain, born to lead and rule, 
I would that my dominion should be great 
And wise and bountiful, as wide it shall be. 

Astrologer 
Is that the only thought that haunts thy life ? 

Edward 

Nay, there is one who in my little world 
Shines for me more than sun or moon or star. 
One woman, whom devoutly I adore, 
With ceaseless worship, such as the pure saint 
Breathes in his silent cell, and with a might 

71 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Of sacrifice, as perfect to the end, 
As that of racked unconquerable martyrs. 
My life is lit by two great orbs ; the one 
Is thirst for glory, and the second, love. 

Astrologer 

Where is the canker ? 

Edward 

Lately I have known 
The fear of coming doom. This fight is fought, 
And I have won another victory ; 
But I am still unquiet. 

Astrologer 

Speak thy fear. 

Edward 

An ague stealthily creeps through all my limbs 
And lassitude invades me. I had mocked 
At this, did not a dream that came to me 
Last night, lie heavily upon my soul. 
I cannot rede its meaning. 

Astrologer 

Thou shalt tell 
Thy vision. 

72 



BLACK PRINCE ^ THE ASTROLOGER 

Edward 

It was after the great battle 
We fought at Navarette, and I slept. 
And to the shadow of my dream, an angel 
Came, as the rainbow comes to the grey sea. 
He seemed the living spirit of the morning, 
Winged with the golden fleeces of the dawn ; 
Sandalled with fire, and diademed with dew. 
Clothed in the orange ripples of the sunrise 
As with a royal robe. A burning torch 
He placed within my hands, and guided me 
To paths of paradise ; there, while I walked 
In bliss, I saw another angel come. 
His face was calm and dazzling as the snow 
Upon the mountains, pale as Hesperus, 
Alone in the sad firmament of May. 
He took the living torch from out my hands ; 
Then the bright world grew pale, and cold with 

fear, 
I knew that I was face to face with Death. 
He led me to a sad triumphant portal. 
Which opened on a silvery hall of dusk ; 
And there I saw the heroes and the kings, 
The valiant dead who perished unafraid. 
Sleeping beneath a radiant vault of peace ; 
White as cold marble in the ghostly mist. 
Their faces glimmering with unearthly calm. 
And those who fell forgotten in the fight, 
And those whose names still shine above the 

world 

73 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Like the fixed stars. There in tranquillity, 
Equal they lie, the heirs of happiness. 
Rich in their long inheritance of sleep. 
And round the glistening temple I could see 
The yawning darkness of a great abyss. 
Then, as I made to enter, the stern angel 
Forbade me, pointing to the world, and I 
Followed with lingering steps, and at the 

margin 
Of the abysm craved darkness, and access 
To that immensity. But once again 
The angel turned, and pointed with pale hands 
Unto the toiling world. Death who had snatched 
The torch of Life from out my hands, denied 
Even his utter darkness unto me. 
And then methought I woke, with a deep 

breath, 
Attaining the ineffable release. 
I said unto my soul : It was a dream ! 
But daylight came not, and I seemed to linger 
Eternities in a cold sunless place. 
And all at once I felt as though a fiend 
Were binding me in fetters, and I heard 
A noise of rivets hammered into steel. 
I strove to move, but I was tightly bound ; 
And tentacles unseen dragged me to Hell. 
I screamed, and, screaming, found myself awake. 

Astrologer 
Was that the end ? 

74 



BLACK PRINCE ^ THE ASTROLOGER 

Edward 

Yes ; but I woke in terror, 
A stone upon my heart ; and since that hour 
I cannot chase the melancholy fit. 

Astrologer 

Into the holy crystal I will gaze, 

Although already I discern some meaning 

In this, thy dream. [Fetches crystal. 

O stranger, art thou sure 
That thou would'st peer into futurity ? 

[Gazes into crystal. 

Edward 

Yes, I am sure. And if untimely death 
Be written in the book of fate, make haste, 
Nor hesitate ; for I have faced great dangers. 
And have looked Death so often in the face, 
That I shall neither quiver nor draw back 
From the cold touch of his imperious hand. 

Astrologer {slowly turning from the crystal) 
My son, thou needest all thy courage now. 

Edward 
Then it is worse than Death ? 

75 



DRAMATIC POExMS 
Astrologer 

Art thou still sure 
That thou would'st know ? 

Edward 

I pray you, make an end. 

Astrologer 

Then summon now thy courage, noble child ; 
For in the crystal there were piteous sights : 
Thou spakest of an ague in thy bones, 
And of a creeping lassitude. \\y son, 
Thou hast a mortal sickness ; that fell fever 
Will never now depart. 

Edward 

Is there no more 
Than this. Death's simple sentence ? We must all 
Die on a certain day ; much better then 
To fall in the full flower and bloom of youth, 
As though the new untarnished moon were torn 
From the first hour of dusk, and never knew 
The fulness and the majesty of midnight. 
Leaving on earth remembered witchery, 
And unassuaged regret. 

[Jfter a pause, pacing up and dozen in 
rising excitement. 

Then I die young. 
And I shall meet the warriors of the past 

76 



BLACK PRINCE ^ THE ASTROLOGER 

Who fell like torches flaring for a moment 
In the dark night. And foremost I shall meet 
Balder, of whom my old nurse used to croon 
A cradle-song ; the great and glorious god ; 
The living sun ; the spirit of all youth, 
Fated to meet eclipse and suffer darkness. 
I shall meet Alexander, that swift soldier, 
Blushing with glory like a rose of fire. 
Achilles, splendid as a milk-white steed 
Impatient for the battle ; I shall hear 
Unhappy Roland blow his horn, and see 
The lightning in the eyes of saddest Siegfried, 
These shall I see, the brave, the fallen stars, 
The young whom the gods loved. 

Astrologer 
" No, Edward, no ! 

[Edward starts. 
Not for thee, Edward, Duke of Aquitaine, 
And heir of England, Edward the Black Prince ; — 
Not such a gift the Fates have stored for thee ; 
For thee no boon of swift untimely death 
Is kept. Thou shalt live on. 

Edward 

I cannot trace 
Thy meaning, gentle sir ; I am in darkness. 

Astrologer 
My words shall be but few, since I must stab. 

77 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Edward (seating himself) 
Nay, tell nic ; even to the bitterest end. 

Astrologer 

Edward, thou shalt not die, but rather live ; 
Yet neither shalt thou reach a mellow age 
Of plenitude and ripeness. Pale disease 
Shall linger by thy side, and thou shalt know 
Eternal autumn to thy day of death. 
There shall be battles fought and thou not there ; 
Dangers to dare, and thou within the tent, 
And foes to face, and thou upon thy couch. 
The warhorse idle, and the sword undrawn ; 
And from afar the voice of drums and trumpets 
Shall call ; but thou shalt not obey the summons. 
There shall be thunder of a thousand hoofs 
Upon the plain ; and in the woodland aisles 
The horn shall echo, and the hounds shall bay ; 
Listless, thou wilt not heed : and thou shalt drink 
The waters of despondent lassitude, 
And taste the ashes of inditlercnce ; 
And from Despair thou shalt run out to Death, 
But Death shall send thee to his child. Despair, 
Denying thee his darkness, for a while. 
For many weary years, as in thy dream. 
And now thou knowest all. Thou hast been 

brave ; 
But there are fairer fields for bravery 
Than Poitiers or than Crecy — to live on 
With the foreknowledge of the nothingness, 

78 



BLACK PRINCE ^ THE ASTROLOGER 

Vet never to succumb unto despair ; 

To bear in silence the deep wound of Fate. 

Edward 
Is there no more ? 

Astrologer 

That is the end. 

Edward 

I thank you — 
I thank you for your pains, and say farewell. 
The evil is sufficient for to-day. 



79 



THE DEATH OF THE 
BLACK PRINCE 

[a scene from a play] 



8i 



DRAMATIS PERSONiE 

Edward, the Black Prince. 
Richard. {His Son.) 
Princess Joan. {His JVije.) 
Lords and Barons. 
Nurse. 



THE DEATH OF THE BLACK 
PRINCE 



A Room in Westminster. Priests are discovered 
standing round the Black Prince^ who is lying 
on a couch. His Nurse is sitting beside him. 
As the curtain rises the -priests go out. 

Edward 

Oh ! I am well content 
To die upon a Sunday and in summer. 
Upon the high day of the Trinity 
Which all my life I kept with solemn feast. 
Sing to me, nurse : 

Nurse sings 

From the bleak sand and the grey sand 

(O son o' mine, good-bye), 
To the shore of gold and the cornland 

To conquer or to die. 

83 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The low cloud and the grey cloud 

(O son 6* mine, good-byi). 
It hangs and lowers like a shroud 

Across the blood-red sky. 

The soft sound and the loved sound 

(O son o' mine, good-bye) : 
" Mother, I have a mortal wound," 

It is my own son's cry. 

The horn call and the glad call 

(O son o' mine, good-bye) : 
" Now dig the grave and weave the pall, 

For I am soon to die." 

The lone bell and the sad bell 

(O son o' mine, good-bye) : 
" Tell them, mother, before I fell, 
That I fought gallantly." 

The known tread and the strong tread 

(O son o' mine, good-bye) : 
" One told me you were cold and dead. 

But I heeded not the lie." 

By sunshine or by moonshine 

(O son o' mine, good-bye) : 
" Come back to me, O son o' mine, 

I've waited patiently." 

84 



THE DEATH OF THE BLACK PRINCE 

The loud song and the strange song 

(O son 0* mitie, good-bye) : 
" I've watched and waited now so long, 

Come back before I die." 

From the bleak sand and the grey sand 

(O son o* mine, good-bye) : 
To the shore of gold and the cornland, 

To conquer or to die. 

Edward 

I wish to speak with my son Richard, now, 
While yet my feeble utterance may be heard. 
Open the doors, call hither all my men. 
That I may thank them for their services ; 
That they may swear allegiance to my son. 



Enter Lords and Barons 

Edward [To the Barons. 

Sirs, it is strange that, when I was but young, 
When I came home from Crecy, you would speak 
Of times when I should prove myself a King, 
Haply the greatest of my country's Kings, 
And win large lands and many victories. 
The victories I won : but where are they ? 
All that we fought for has been lost again ; 
My conquests are a half-forgotten dream. 

85 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Yet haply, but the bare names of my battles 
May strike a spark in English hearib some day, 
In the far future ; haply, hearts will beat 
Quicker when they shall hear those names but 

spoken, 
Poitiers and Crecy — faint and far away 
It seems — as though the long wars had befallen 
Some other man, not me. Vet now I die ; 
I rail not at the past, and I would live 
My life again, save the last shadowed years. 
My death-kncll rang on Navarettc field. 
Since then I have not lived, or lived in vain. 
Sirs, you have served me loyally, and though 
To each I cannot give his guerdon, God 
By His most holy Name shall give it you. 
I recommend to you my son ; as yet 
He is but small, but, as you have served me, 
So, from your heart, I pray you to serve him. 
Call Richard and my wife : I ui>h to sec them. 

Enter Richard and Pri.scess Joan 

Edward 

Joan, I have begged forgiveness for my sins, 

I have been shriven by the holy priest : 

My soul is clean ; I am prepared to die. 

I die contented ; I leave little Richard, 

Take care of him ; and thou, my son, remember 

Thou had'st a father who did never know 

A coward's heart, nor saw the face of fear ; 

86 



THE DEATH OF THE BLACK PRINCE 

Nor thought upon the whereabouts of Death ; 
Whose motto was " High Spirit " ; who at one 

time, 
When God bereft him of his hopes and dreams, 
His strength, his health, his power, his happiness. 
Was tempted to surrender, to despair. 
To make Death his ally ; but being a soldier. 
Defeated, he deserted not the field, 
While the fight lasted. Thus must thou do also ; 
That, when thou diest, men may say of thee, 
" The Prince of chivalry in all the world, 
Has left in no dishonourable wise 
The lists, to go and slumber in his tent." 
For though my lot in life was with the conquered, 
I have yielded not till the hour of death ; 
But now at last I may lay down my arms. 
Hark ! a strange bugle-call that summons me, 
Far-oif from the dominion of the dead ! 
Soon shall I pass into my kingdom, soon 
Shall I assume my high inheritance, 
Where there awaits no throne nor crown for me ; 
Naught but the friend to whom I looked for help, 
The sure friend and the strong, unfailing friend, 
Who held aloof his hand and veiled his face ; 
Now I shall feel the solace of that hand, 
And gaze upon the glory of that face. 
For Death, my friend, who shunned me for so 

long. 
Holds out his hand, and hides his face no more. 
Can you not hear the roll of phantom drums .? 
The noise of arms ? For now the sleeping dead, 

87 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The valiant dead who perished unafraid, 
All stir to welcome me, and while I march 
To Death's triumphant portal, I shall hear 
The clash of ghostly arms and the strange bugle ; 
But once within the silvery hall of dusk, 
There will be no more noise. I shall forget 
The rolling echoes of the battlefield. 
At last I shall lie down among the dead. 
And shut my eyes without the dread of dawn. 
I, likewise, now, the heir of happiness, 
Rich in my portion of the priceless gift, 
Shall sleep beneath the radiant vault of peace, 
Among the brave wh(j lie fur ever still. 



88 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

A PLAY IN FIVE ACTS 

TO H. B. 

He BuOtJiu OHu, kakT> epeMa npojieraJio, 
Gbiea^o rpycTHO umi. a ckyMHo He 6biBa;io. 

Note. — The subject-matter of this play is almost entirely taken 
from M. Joseph Bidier' s compilation of the Tristram Legends 



DRAMATIS PERSON.E 

King Mark. {King of Cornwall.) 

Tristram. {His Nephew.) 

Andret. 

Denoalen. 

Duke Hoel. 

The Duchess. {His Wife.) 

Iseult of Brittany. {Their Daughter.) 

Sir Kay Hedius. {Her Brother.) 

A Hermit. 

Griselda. {Iseult of Brittany's Lady.) 

Persides. {Tristram's Page.) 

Iseult the Fair. {King Mark's Wife.) 

Brangwaine. {Her Lady.) 



ACT I 

Scene I — Hall in the Castle of Tintagel 

King Mark 

Tristram, my friend, thou who hast been to me 
More than a son, say wherefore art thou sad ? 

Tristram 
King Mark, I am not sad. 

King Mark 

In olden days 
Tintagel echoed with thy careless song. 

Tristram 

Those days were long ago ; I was a boy ; 
Since then so many crowded years have passed, 
And I have wandered long and far away. 

King Mark 
Tristram, it hurts my heart to see thee sad. 

91 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

Let not the King heed Tristram ; I deserve 
No passing thought, for fortune has bestowed 
Too many gifts on me. 

King Mark 

O heart of gold ! 
Tristram, my son, no gift would be too great 
For thee. 

Tristram 

I pray thee speak not thus, O King. 

[Horns sound. 
King Mark 

Hark ! the horn calls us ; wilt thou to the hunt? 

Tristram 
I come. 

King Mark 
Then let us follow the glad horn. [Extunt. 

Enter Iseult and Brancwaine 

Iseult 

How mournful is the murmur of the sea ! 

How heavy is the curtain of the sky ! 

How dark the daylight and how cold the sun ! 

92 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Brangwaine 
I pray you, Queen, be governed. 

ISEULT 

Who can guess 
The torment of my heart ? 

Brangwaine 

Alas ! too clear 
Your fiery dream is written on your face. 

ISEULT 

You know the sorrow that I nurse, but they, 
How should they know ? 

Brangwaine 

When Tristram is not here 
Listless and ghostly are the words you speak ; 
Your soul is far away ; but when he comes, 
You rise to life like some pale drooping flower 
Refreshed by timely rain. 

ISEULT 

You fancy this. 

Brangwaine 

Not I alone : all see the self-same thing — 
Blind must they be to whom it is not clear. 

93 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

When you and Tristram meet, they can but sec 
Love, like a shadow following you ; and love 
Burns in your eyes and trembles in your speech. 

ISEULT 

What should I do ? 



Bra 



ngwai.nl 



Make c;f your face a mask, 
And like a mummer strive to talk and smile 
Before the Courtiers, and before the King. 

ISEULT 

I try, but I forget ; and like a wave 

The thought of Tristram sweeps mc far away. 

Brancwaine 
Queen, be advised, before it is too late. 

ISEULT 

You know that it already is too late. 

Brancwaine 

Ay, truly vain it is to say " turn back " — 
It is too late. There is no turning back. 

94 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

ISEULT 

I sought not Tristram's love ; I strove to hate ; 
I hated him. 

Brangwaine 

How could you fight the fate 
That lurked within the drink your mother brewed? 
Blame me, for through my fault you drained the 

cup, 
The cursed draught made for the King and you. 



ISEULT 

It was no fault of yours. 

Brangwaine 

Ah ! fate made sport, 
Sad sport of us. 

ISEULT 

And never till the day 
We die shall Fate release us from the spell. 



95 



DRAMATIC POEMS 



Scene II. — Same Hall in the Castle. King Mark 
is seated on his throne 

Enter Andret and Denoalen 

Andret 
VVc claim an audience of the King. 

King Mark 

Speak on. 

Andret 

Our words, most gracious Mark, cannot but stir 
Great wrath in you ; yet is our duly plain 
To lay the unwelcome truth before your eyes. 
Tristram, in whom you placed your heart and 

faith, 
Would shame you ; Tristram loves Iscult the 

Queen. 

King Mark 

You lie ! Knaves, envy hath made black your 

hearts. 
'Tis true that Tristram holds my heart in pawn ; 
The day the stranger challenged you to fight 
Tristram encountered him and laid him low, 
And red blood flowed from many a gaping wound ; 
And that is why you hate him ; that is why 
I love him. What is it you feign to know ? 

96 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Andret 

We see but what is plain ; what all men see ; 
We only pray you, sir, to use your eyes ; 
For haply even now 'tis not too late. 

King Mark 
Leave me, sirs. 

[Exeunt Andret afid Denoalen. 
[To Squire.] Send Sir Tristram here to mc. 

Enter Tristram 

King Mark 

Tristram, make haste to leave these Castle walls, 
Nor cross the moat again ; for men accuse thee 
Of treachery ; ask me no question, friend, 
I could not speak their hateful speech again 
Without dishonour for us both ; nor seek 
For soothing words ; I know they would be vain ; 
Yet I believed them not ; if I believed 
How could I look on thee and let thee live ? 
Go. Mark, that loves thee, bids thee go, my son. 

[Exit Tristram. 
Some demon in my heart has sown a doubt. 



H 



97 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Scene III. — An Orchard. Night 
Enter Tristram 

Tristram 

Iseult, far off from you I cannot stay, 
I cannot live. And I have come again, 
Though death and shame may wait for you and 

mc. 
There is a bubbHng spring that rises here 
Beneath the shadow of this friendly pine ; 
It wanders through the trees a running stream. 
Between these grassy banks where cowslips 

grow, 
And reaches at the end the Castle yard. 
I have cast shreads of bark upon the stream ; 
Through the green orchard they will wind their 

way 
And speak a silent message to Iseult, 
And she will see, and understand, and come. 

[Pause. 
A gentle ghost is flitting through the trees, 
She touches but she tramples not the flowers ; 
For she was made one with the springtime's 

blossom, 
A sister to the bending daffodil. 
It is Iseult. 

98 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Enter Iseult 

ISEULT 

Upon the rippling stream 
I saw the floating bark. And swift I came. 

Tristram 
There never was so sure a messenger. 

Iseult 

And though he whispers an unceasing tale, 
He never tells the secret that he bears. 

Tristram 

I breathed the secret to the spring ; it wells 
Beneath this tree and fills the marble cirque, 
O'ergrown with moss, with a clear silver film. 
Hark, is the murmur mournful ? Is it glad ? 

Iseult 

Like all sweet things, it is both glad and sad. 
The dancing wave, the laughing wind, the chime 
Of bells, the shepherd's reed, the woodland horn, 
The words of love we speak ; in all of these 
There is a seed of sorrow. 

Tristram 

It is true ; 
For every smile that like a sunbeam shines 
Is followed by his shadow. 

99 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

ISEULT 

Brightest things 
Cast darkest shade. Such is our love, O friend. 

Tristram 
Yet think not of the shadow, but the sun. 

ISEULT 

For us there is no sun. Like happy men 
We cannot taste the laughing light of day ; 
For us the day is cruel. Only here. 
Beneath the branches of this silent tree. 
We can be safe and still. 

Tristram 

Then let us think 
The world beyond the orchard is a dream. 

ISEULT 

The moon has touched the slumber-scented trees ; 
How dim, how frail the apple-blossom shines. 

Tristram 

The birds arc sleeping, and the noisy chough 
Is far away. 

Iseult 

This morning, in the trees 
I heard the cuckoo's cry ; but now he sleeps. 

100 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Tristram 

All happy creatures sleep, but you and I 
Watch. 

ISEULT 

In the wakeful darkness there is peace, 
And silent sadness greater than all joy. 
How still and strange the blue deeps of the trees ! 
The silver air ! I feel a dreamy spell, 
As though a wizard's wand, dipped in cool dew, 
Had touched and changed us into ghostly leaves. 

Tristram 

Or drowned our souls beneath the bubbling 
spring. 

ISEULT 

Ay, it were sweet beneath the rippling water. 
Captive in those cool liquid deeps, to dream. 
Ah ! sad would be the music of the brook 
If it were laden with our sighs. 

Tristram 

And they 
Who heard it would weep tears of blessed joy. 

Iseult 

So still it is ; listen, the very stream 
Seems drowsily to mutter in his sleep. 

lOI 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Haply the world beyond the orchard trees 
Is but a lying dream, and this is true. 

Tristram 

I touch your hand and wake from the world's 

trance, 
And only this is true. I come to life 
When I am here beneath the bilent tree. 
With y(ju ; but when I go, I fade away, 
To wander like a phant(jm in the night ; 
For all the world where yuu are not is dim, 
And all the dwellers in the world are ghosts. 

ISEULT 

Tristram, without you, empty is the world. 
And blind I wander in the light of day. 

Tristram 

That is the lying dream : the truth is here 
In every whispered word and silent kiss. 

ISEULT 

Tristram, my friend. 

Tristram 

Iseult, Iseult, my life. 

Iseult 
Hold me and kiss me till the world shall end. 

102 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Tristram 
The world is dead — but we shall never die. 

ISEULT 

Or haply we have died, and the world lives 
As far away, as silent as the moon ; 
But thou art still my friend. 

Tristram 

Iseult, my death ! 

ISEULT 

Say not the sea-folk that Tintagel's towers 
Are spellbound, and by magic melt away 
Twice in the year ? That breathless hour has 

come ; 
Tintagel's walls have vanished, and these trees. 
This orchard is the orchard of the song. 

Tristram 

Whisper the story softly in my ear ; 
Thy voice is sweeter than all song to me. 

Iseult 

It tells of a strange orchard, walled around 
With wizard air and starred with shining flowers ; 
There the frail blossom falls not from the tree, 
And there the warrior wanders with his love. 

103 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Nought can molest their dream, no enemy 
Can break the wall of air. 

[Dawn breaks. Trumpets sound. 

Tristram 

The wizard wall 
Is shattered ; no, that orchard is not here ; 
Nor shall we find its like upon the earth ; 
But one day, I shall bear you, O my friend, 
To the pale gardens where the minstrels sing. 
Where flutes and harps for ever sigh and sound ; 
Never the sun shines, but the dw^ellers there 
Ask for no sunshine. 

ISEULT 

Take me thither, friend. 

[Trumpet sounds again 

Tristram 
The trumpet calls us to the cruel day. 

ISEULT 

Farewell, my friend. 

Tristram 
Iseult, Iseult, farewell. 

ISEULT 

God guard you ! O God guard and keep us both. 

104 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Scene IV. — An orchard. Night 
Enter King Mark and Andret 

Andret 

Hide yourself, sir, behind this pine-tree trunk ; 
Soon will they come, and you shall slay me, sir, 
If the Queen meets not Tristram on this spot. 

Enter Tristram 

Tristram 

The moon is full, and like a silver thread 
The stream winds glittering through the tangled 
grass. 

[He throws shreads of wood on to the stream 
How swift the little ships float down the stream ; 
They meet, they drift apart, they meet again. 
They rise, they sink, like lives of men on earth ; 
And at the end they reach tranquillity. 
Where the bright fountain plashes on the stone. 
[He sees the King's shadow 
What is this phantom flitting through the trees ? 

Enter Iseult, who also sees the King's shadow 

IsEULT {Aside) 

God grant that I may be the first to speak. 

105 



DRAMATIC POEMS 



ISEULT 



Tristram ! What, have you dared, in such a place 
At such an hour to wait for me ? All ! oft 
You bade me come to heed your prayer, you said. 
What is this prayer ? What do you want of me ? 
For I have come at last. 



Tristram 

Yes, often, Queen, 
I sent for you ; but always sent in vain ; 
For since I have been banished by the King, 
You have not deigned to heed my mournful call. 
Have pity ! for the King now hateth me. 
I know not why — haply you know the cause. 
And who could calm his rage so well as you, 
Gentle Iseult ? 

ISEULT 

Oh ! know you not, the King 
Suspects us of a shameful infamy ? 
Must I, O shame ! reveal this news to you ? 
He thinks that we are bound by guilty love. 
God knows — and let him kill me if I lie — 
That I have only loved one man. 

Tristram 

I pray 
That you may plead for me, O gentle Queen. 

io6 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

ISEULT 

He'd kill me if he knew that I was here. 

Tristram 
How came he to such thoughts ? 

ISEULT 

It was not he, 
But traitors led him to believe this lie. 
" They love," they said. 'Tis true you love me, 

sir. 
Have I not saved you twice from death, and I 
Have loved you in return, for are not you 
My kinsman ? 

Tristram 

Beg the King to pity me. 

ISEULT 

Tristram, you must not ask this thing of me. 
The world's my foe, and should I say one word 
I risk a shameful death. Ah ! may God help you. 
So often have I whispered to this stream 
My sorrow, and told my trouble to the leaves. 
Ah ! it is sad, now all the world is joyous, 
That I alone should hide a heavy heart, 
Because my Lord suspects me of great wrong. 

107 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

And I, when twilight steals upon the world, 
Have often sat beside this mossy stone, 
Where the spring rises. I have told my tale 
To the clear water, and methinks its song 
Has sighed a sadder burden since that day ; 
And I have prayed the water-sprites to bear 
The story of my sorrow to the King, 
For it is clear and truthful as the stream. 

ISEULT 

God help you, for the King has been deceived ; 
I pray that he may pardon you. I go. 
For I am fearful. I have stayed too long. 
Farewell, O gentle sir. 

Tristram 

Farewell, O Queen. 
[Exeunt Tristram atid Iseult 

King Mark 

Oh ! blessed be this hour ! Praise be to God ! 
Tristram, my son, why did I doubt of you ? 



io8 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 



Scene V. — Iseult's Chamber. Night 

ISEULT 

I know not why, but I am cold with fear. 
Enter Tristram 

ISEULT 

Tristram ! Make haste to go ! Ah ! you are mad 
To seek me in the chamber of the King ! 

Tristram 

The King has left the Castle these three hours. 
He bade me start before to-morrow's dawn, 
To take a written scroll to Carduel's King. 

ISEULT 

It is deceit ! A traitorous stratagem. 

Go ! quickly, go, before they find you here. 

Tristram 
How could I go, Iseult, nor say farewell ? 

Iseult 

I, too, had grieved had you in silence gone. 
But we have said farewell. Make haste to go, 
I fear the traitors. 

109 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

What is fear to us ? 

Surely fear died upon that summer morn 
We drank by chance from the same silver cup. 

ISEULT 

The sail was flapping idly in the air. 

Tristram 
There was no land in sight. 

ISEULT 

And in the sky 
No cloud. 

Tristram 
The drowsy mariners all slept. 

Iseult 

Only a seagull circled in the air 
And cried a strange cold cry ; it made me shiver. 
I thought the golden sea, the burning sky, 
Must have turned grey ; but no, they had not 
changed. 

Tristram 
The sea was like a glittering coat of mail. 

no 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

ISEULT 

And pitiless and cruel was the sun ! 

I thought of the cool streams of my green home. 

Tristram 
You bade me fetch you water. 

ISEULT 

It was wine 
You brought. 

Tristram 

Ah ! no, Ah ! no, it was not wine ; 
But bitter bliss, and anguish without end. 
Love, Death. 

ISEULT 

I drank, and gave the cup to you. 

Tristram 
And then began the torment in my heart. 

Iseult 

For may days I strove to hate you still ; 
I strove ; the ecstasy within my heart 
Was bitterer than all anger then to me. 

Ill 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

And for three days we spoke no word ; but ' 
Was tortured and my heart was full of shame 
During those days I dared not show my face 

ISEULT 

On the last day you sought me in my tent 
You said to me, " What is it troubles you, 
Iseult ? » 

Tristram 

And wildly then you cried to i 
" This sky, this sea, my body and my life ! " 
And your eyes filled with tears ; you laid } 

hand 
Upon my arm. 

Iseult 

And once again you said 
Softly : " Iseult, what is it troubles you ? " 

Tristram 

You looked at me ; and whispered " Love 
you." 

Iseult 

And you made silent answer. 

112 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Tristram 

With a kiss. 

ISEULT 

angwaine then came and cried, " You drank of 

death." 
bile love and life leapt in our veins like fire ; 
lU cried, " If this be death then let us die." 

Tristram 

breeze came with the sunset. I can hear 
le lapping of the surge about the ship. 

ISEULT 

id Brangwaine weeping in the silent night. 

Tristram 
can still see the hot midsummer sky. 

Iseult 
lie million stars that watched upon our love. 

Tristram 
hat white Star in the East, so still, so clear. 

ISEULT 

he morning-star ! We thought it Hesperus. 
I 113 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

So swiftly had the hours of darkness flown, 
We thought that twihght lingered in the sky. 
It was the dawn. 

ISEULT 

Tristram, it is the dawn ! 
And all the night has in a moment passed. 

Enter King Mark, Andret 

King Mark 

Tristram, to-morrow you shall die : no prayer, 

No vow, no word of protest will avail. 
You and Iseult shall sutler the same death. 



114 



ACT II 

A Forest. Summer 

Hermit 

Tristram, a price is set upon your head. 
The Barons swore to capture you alive 
Or dead. Tristram, repent, for God forgives 
The sinner who repents. 

Tristram 

But of what crime ? 



Your lawless love. 



Hermit 



Tristram 



Ah ! little do you know 
The truth, who judge us. Know you of the 

wine 
We drank together on the fatal ship ? 

115 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Hermit 

God help you ! for the traitor's end is death ! 
You have betrayed your King. Tristram, give 

back 
The Queen unto her lawful Lord. 

Tristram 

No more 
Is he her Lord. She was condemned to death, 
And we would both have perished at the stake, 
Had I not broken loose and set her free. 

Hermit 

You cannot change the truth with subtle speech. 
Repent : for he who lives in sin is dead. 

Tristram 

I live and I repent not. This great wood 
Shall keep us safe. Come, come to me, Iseult ! 

[Exit Hermit 
Enter Iseult 

Tristram 
The Hermit bids me take you to the King. 

Iseult 

The world has lost us ; we have lost the world ; 
How say you, Tristram ! 

ii6 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Tristram 

Friend, so long as you 
Are with me, what is there that I can wish ? 
If all the stars and worlds were ours, I'd see 
You only. 

ISEULT 

I would think in days gone by 
That peaceful happiness was not for us. 
Yet in this forest we can taste of joy. 

Tristram 

And every hour unveils another bliss. 
Hark to the tinkle of the running stream ! 

ISEULT 

Hark to the rustle of the lime trees' leaves ! 
It is a haunted tree, within whose heart 
Some spirit dwells and whispers to the wind. 

Tristram 
The noon is humming his soft sleepy song. 

ISEULT 

And far away I hear a shepherd's flute. 
The tune is like a sunbeam to my heart- 

117 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

The notes have died away upon the breeze, 
And all is still. 

ISEULT 

Save where the woodpecker 
Taps on the bole of some sequestered tree. 

Tristram 

This forest is our court. Its branches spread 
A royal canopy above our heads. 

ISEULT 

Our courtiers are the purple butterflies. 

Tristram 

Our squires and henchmen are the wild brown 
bees. 

ISEULT 

Our gems are drops of dew ; our gold the broom. 
Lest we should miss the shimmer of bright rubes 
The darting kingfisher delights our eyes. 

Tristram 

Our morning herald is the lark, the thrush 
Our ballad-monger, and the whistling blackbird 
Our llute-player. 

ii8 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

ISEULT 

The squirrel is our fool. 
Our chapel lies in the dark forest aisle. 

Tristram 
Where the stream tells its rippling rosary. 

ISEULT 

At Vespers incense rises from the pool. 

Tristram 
And fireflies are the tapers of the shrine. 

ISEULT 

The nightingales the Ave Mary sing. 

Tristram 
The noon is heavy : let us seek our cave. 



119 



DRAMATIC POEMS 



Scene II. — 7he Forest. Autumn 

Hermit 

How long, O Tristram, will this madness last ? 
Have courage, take Iscult back to the King. 

Tristram 
Ask me not this : for it can never be. 

Hermit 

Have you no thought for her ? What piteous 

plight 
Is hers through you ? She, born to be a Queen, 
Is now no better than a hunted beast. 
What is her lot ? Instead of silken robes 
And glittering courts, you give her this wild wood, 
A cave, and roots to eat, the frost, the cold ; 
All this for you she bears without a word. 
Shame, shame upon you, Tristram ! Is not she 
His bride, true wedded by the rite of Rome ? 

[£.vz7 Hermit 
Enter Iseult 

Tristram 

Your cheek is pale and wistful is your smile. 
Iseult, tell, tell me, if your heart be sad. 

1 20 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

ISEULT 

Tristram, you know full well I am not sad. 

Tristram 

Are you not wearied of this life, Iseult, 
Of these rough days ? 

Iseult 

My friend is with me still : 
I know not if the days be rough or fair. 

Tristram 
Nay, you are sad. 

Iseult 

To see the swallows fly, 
To see the faded leaves fall one by one ; 
And sad because I know that what is fled 
Shall never be again. 

Tristram 

Already sown 
Are golden seeds of blissful hours to be. 

Iseult 

But this long dream can never be again : 
The first free wanderings in the leafy wood : 
Those hours are dead. Tristram, methinks that 

you 
Have sadder thoughts than I. 

121 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

Iscult, my joy. 
How can the sun give darkness ? 

ISEULT 

You are sad. 

Tristram 

I grieve to see you beaten by the wind, 
To see you sleep upon the rugged ground. 
Iseult, when winter comes, what shall befall ? 

ISEULT 

When winter comes we in the hermit's cave, 
Beside the blazing boughs, shall little heed 
The storms ; the snow shall be our coverlet. 

Tristram 

Yet my heart aches for you. I fear you hide 
Your grief. 

Iseult 

One thing alone can sadden me : 
To see that you are mournful. O my friend. 
Great is my happiness if you are glad. 
Only I fear lest you be wearied now 
Of loneliness and of this savage wood. 

122 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Tristram 

There where my daylight is, my life, my joy. 
There is no loneliness. One thought is dark : 
To think the happiness must have an end. 

ISEULT 

It shall not end. 

Tristram 

I know the end must come ; 
We never shall be free from our dark fate. 
Free on the earth like other happy men. 

ISEULT 

Think not of what has been, nor what shall be, 
But say you are not changed. 

Tristram 

Iseult, my life ! 

ISEULT 

Enough. Tristram, my friend, it is enough. 
Enter Hermit 

Tristram 

It is the holy hermit. Speak with him. 

[^Exit Tristram. 

123 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Hermit 

Iseult, God bids thcc seek thy lawful lord. 

ISEULT 

Forsaking Tristram ? No, it cannot be. 

Hermit 

It shall be, if your love is great enough. 
Shfjuld Tristram live an outcast in the woods ? 
Tristram, the brave, the great adventurous Knight. 
Tristram, who in the Castle of a King 
Should live surrounded by a hundred squires. 
He who should visit the great fields of war, 
And run at tilt in tourneys with the brave. 
For you he leaves the world ; for you he roams, 
An outlaw wandering homeless in a wood. 

ISEULT 

U hermit, leave me, for you tear my heart. 



124 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 



Scene III. — Another part of the Forest. Autumn. 
On one side oj the Stage is the Hermit's Cave 
where Iseult is lying asleep 

Enter King Mark 

King Mark 

They told mc that within a leafy cave 
A shining fairy slumbered in a trance. 

[He walks to the cave and sees Iseult 
Iseult ! Oh ! canst thou live and be so fair ? 
Thy face and features wear the blessed peace, 
The radiant smile that lights the happy dead ; 
And yet thou art alive, for wert thou dead, 
Thy cheek would not be tinged like a soft rose ; 
Inscrutable and wondrous is thy smile ; 
Oh ! would to God thy heart were innocent ! 

Enter Hermit 

I found Iseult the Queen in this thy cave ; 
Now tell me where is Tristram's hiding-place ? 

Hermit {Aside) 

Praise God ! I will fulfil the work of peace. 
[To King] O King, Sir Tristram dwells not in 

this cave. 
But far away in the deep forest's heart ; 
And only when Iseult has fallen asleep 

125 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

He ventures here and feeds his gaze awhile 

Upon her sleeping form, and when she stirs 

He flics into the thickets of the woods. 

And ofttimcs, when the sun beats on her face, 

He shields her from its rays with shady leaves. 

And, as he gazes, tears bedim his eyes ; 

But never comes he here at other times, 

Lest he should do dishonour to his King. 

Has he not sworn his innr)cence to thee, 

O King ? thou didst not deign to heed his word. 



King Mark 

Speak you the truth ? Dark, dark has been my 

fault. 
Great-hearted Tristram, must my meaner heart 
For ever doubt of you and be deceived ? 
But I am ready to set right the wrong. 
See, I will signify my will : I take 
This ring from Iscult's finger, in its stead 
I place my own, the ring she gave to me. 
And when she wakes my message will be clear. 

[Exit King Mark 



H 



ERMIT 



God, forgive the lie upon my lips, 

1 spoke the falsehood in the cause of peace. 

[IsEULT azcakcs 



126 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Enter Tristram 

ISEULT 

I dreamt that one was watching while I slept, 
And, while he watched, he wept, then he bent 

down, 
And took away my ring, and in its place 
He put his own. Look you upon my finger. 
The ring is changed. Hermit. It is the ring 
I gave King Mark upon our bridal day. 
Who hath done this ? 

Hermit 

The King himself was here 
And wept for pity as he gazed on you. 
His heart is full of sorrow, he believes 
The oath of innocence that Tristram swore. 
He minds how he condemned you both unheard. 
And now his only wish is to forgive. 

Tristram 

Forgive ! Ah ! who could pardon such a fault 
Without ignobleness ? No, Hermit, no ; 
But he remembers how, a little child, 
I, at his feet, played on a golden harp ; 
He minds how oft my blood has flowed for him ; 
The oath I swore, the judgment that I claimed ; 
He cannot guess the riddle of our lives ; 
He doubts, he hopes ; now he will let me prove 
My words in combat ; — I must then give back 
Iseult. O wherefore did he come ? Before 

127 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

I could feel hate for him, but by his deed 

He stirs the old compassion in my heart. 

Hermit 

Tristram, be brave and bring the Queen to him ;^ 
Tristram, the time has come to take the Queen 
From this wild forest and this savage life. 

Tristram 
What thinkcst thou, Iseult ? 

ISEULT 

What passeth speech ; 

Yet if you will it so, so let it be. 

Tristram 

Then holy hermit, heed ; I will obey ; 

Help me to make agreement with the King. 

Go back, Iseult, and I will leave this land, 

I will to Brittany, and if one day 

The King should call me, I will come once more. 

Iseult 

It is so willed, it must be, and although 
I do not now repent me that I loved 
Tristram, and that I love him ; still from now 
Our lives must be divided, though my heart 
Shall never leave his heart. 

128 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 
Hermit 

O praised be God ! 
The King is hunting in the wood to-day; 
I will to him and bring him here to you. 

[Exit Hermit 

Tristram 

Iseult, Iseult, dark is this hour of grief ! 
It is the bitter end of the sweet cup. 

Iseult 

Nay, not the end. And was not the first drop 
Bitter and sweet as is the last ? For us 
There is no end, but we, until we die, 
Shall drift together like two floating leaves 
Upon a running stream ; never for long 
Together, never parted utterly. 

Tristram 

Like the small shreads of bark I used to cast 
Upon the orchard stream in days gone by ; 
Yet now our parting must be long. 

Iseult 

A night, 
Lingering and dark perchance, but dawn will 
come. 

K 129 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Tristram 

There may be glimpses at the dawn and dusk 
For us ; but we shall never more be free 
To wander throughout all the careless day. 

ISEULT 

Till Death ; then, in the night or in the day, 
Together, unmolested, we shall roam. 

Tristram 

Not yot, Iscult : that hour has not yet come ; 
And oh ! the bitter grief to lose you now ! 

ISEULT 

Take this green ring and wear it for my sake ; 
And should you ever send this ring to me, 
No walls, no chains, no bars, nor stern command 
Shall keep mc from fulfilling my friend's wish. 

Tristram 

God bless the ring and her that gave it me. 
How shall I live without her .'* 

ISEULT 

Fate has bound 
Our lives together and I dare not think 
How I shall live ; but this alone I know, 
My heart will follow you o'er all the world. 

130 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Tristram 

O friend, I go. I know not to what land ; 
But should I ever send you the green ring, - 
Will you fulfil the wish that it shall bear ? 

ISEULT 

Thou knowest well no walls, no chains, no bars 
Shall keep me from fulfilling thy heart's wish. 
Be it wisdom or mad folly. 

Tristram 

God be good 
To you ! 

ISEULT 

God guard you always, O my friend ! 
Enter King Mark, Andret, Hermit and Barons 

Tristram 

O K' ug, I give you back Iseult the Fair ; 
And I stand here to prove to all the world 
In combat that I never loved the Queen 
With guilty love, that had offended you. 
Deceived by traitors you had had us burnt 
Untried, unheard, had God not pitied us ; 
No hearing was I given. Let me now 
Be judged, and let me justify myself 

131 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

In battle. And if vanquished, kill me, sir, 
If victor, let me serve you as before. 

Andret {Aside to the King) 

Sir, heed my counsel. Wrongly evil tongues 
Spake slander of the Queen, yet if Sir Tristram 
Returns to Court, those tongues will speak once 
more. 

Tristram 

Who will accept my challenge ? 

[SiUnce 
There is none 
Who dares. O King, you speak no word to mc. 
Take back the Queen. And I will leave you, Sir, 
And seek a far-off country ; Brittany 
Or Wales. 

King Mark 

My son, O whither will you go 
Thus ragged, thus unbannered ? Here is gold. 

Tristram 

King, I will take no single piece of silver. 
But, as I am, I shall in distant lands 
Offer my service to some alien King. 

[^Exit Tristram 



n2 



ACT III 

Scene I. — Iseult's Room in Tintagel 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Brangwaine, I know not why, but these last 

days 
There have been moments when my heart seemed 

light, 
As though my pain had melted quite away. 

Brangwaine 
Time heals the bitter wounds of fate. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Ah,, no ! 
A million centuries might o'er me roll 
And undiminished would my sorrow be. 

Brangwaine 

And yet you say your heart seems light at 
times. 

133 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
IsEULT OF Cornwall 

It is since Tristram sent me the small bell. 
The silver bell that hangs about my neck. 
I wear it now ; strange when I hear it tinkle, 
A sudden ray of sunshine warms my heart, 
And I am sad no more. 

Brancwaine 

It is his gift. 
The thought of Tristram makes life sweet to you, 
Whene'er you listen to that little bell. 

[IsEULT takrs off the bell 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Hark to its silver sound ! Ah ! I could cr)' 
For joy ! I feel a gladness in my heart. 

Brancwaine 
It is the thought of Tristram. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Nay, that thought 
Would rather bring mc pain. 

Brancwaine 

They say the bell 
Was brought by Merlin from Avilion's Isle. 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

The bell is iaQry ! He has sent it me 
That I might lose my sorrow and forget. 
I will not taste of comfort while my friend 
Suffers. He might have kept the magic solace. 
He kept the sorrow and he gave the joy. 
It shall not be. For Tristram, I will suffer 
As well as you, so long as you are sad. 
I cast you, cursed bell, into the sea ! 

[Goes to the window 
Brangwaine, 'tis true : a curtain veils the sun : 
And in my heart the ancient sorrow aches. 



Scene H. — Hall in the Castle of Carhaix, Brittany 
Iseult with the white hands, and Duchess Hoel 

Duchess 
Thy bridal robe is almost ready, child. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

When will the feast be ? for the days pass by 
But Tristram never speaks of it to me. 

Duchess 

Methinks he loves you well, and that his days 
Pass wondrous sweetly, like a dream of bHss. 

135 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Haply he loves me : dreamy is his mood : 
It is as though his mind were far away. 

Duchess 

And yet he loves you. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

He is kind to me. 
And when the Minstrels sing of mc in song, 
His face lights up with a strange wistful smile. 

Duchess 

He loves the Minstrelsy ? 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

He loves the song 
" Iseult " the Minstrels made upon my name. 

Duchess 

He is a warrior. It is sweet for him 

To rest and bask in a soft dream of love : 

He fears to break the spell. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Yet sometimes, Mother, 
It seems as though I were a ghost to him. 
He gazes through me on the vacant air. 

n6 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Duchess 

That is love-sickness. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Sometimes, too, methinks, 
He seems to listen to a hidden voice ; 
To gaze upon a shape I cannot see. 

Duchess 

That is but love that rises up to you, 

Like a great cloud of incense, from his heart. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Is it for me ? 

Duchess 

For whom else could it rise ? 
Why has he lingered if he loved you not 
After he drove away the enemy ? 
And when your father offered him your hand, 
He could have answered " No " and left our land, 
But it was plain he loved you from the first. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
I thought he looked on me with loving eyes. 

Duchess 

I mind the day your brother brought him here, 
Into our chamber, as we worked and sang. 

137 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

" This is Iscult," your brother said, and Tristram 
Smiled a strange smile, and softly said " Iseult ! " 

Enter Tristram 

He comes. I leave you, child, alone with him. 

[Exit Duchess 

Iseult of Brittany 

Good-morrow, Tristram. 

Tristram 

Hail ! little Iseult. 
What is the robe you work with your fair hands ? 

Iseult of Brittany 
It is my bridal veil. 

Tristram 
Our wedding ? Strange ! 

Iseult of Brittany 
Why strange, my Lord ? 

Tristram 

Nay, nay, it is not strange. 
Yet it is strange that I, in Brittany, 
Should wed : so far away from Cornwall's shores 
Where I have lived. 

138 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Why left you Cornwairs shores ? 

Tristram 

To seek adventure, for I always loved 
To wander. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
O'er the plains and in the woods. 

Tristram 

Long, long ago I wandered in a wood : 
For days which seemed like months, for months 
like years. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Were you alone ? 

Tristram 

I had a faithful friend. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Where is he now ? 

Tristram 

Gone, gone, I know not where. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
When is our marriage day ? 

139 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

Whene'er the Duke 
Decrees. I shall be ready ; but these days 
Are soft and pleasant as a summer dream. 
I would not break the spell of the still hours. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Think you the clarions of the wedding feast 
Will break the spell ? 

Tristram 

Perchance they'll bring to us 
Another dream, more sweet, a longer dream. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
You love to dream. 

Tristram 

In slumberous forest lands 
They rocked me to the sound of a sad sea. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Is it as fair a land as Brittany ? 

Tristram 

Just such a land. Another Brittany ; 
The woods are darker and the billow's song 
Is sadder. 

140 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Ah ! the sadness of that sea 
Is in your eyes. You must have tasted grief, 
Once, long ago. 

Tristram 

So long ago, that now 
It seems as though it had not ever been. 

Iseult of Brittany 
Tell me your tale of grief. 

Tristram 

There is no tale, 
Some birds there are who twitter merrily, 
Others who sing a plaintive song ; of such 
Was I ; for I was born in grief. 

Iseult of Brittany 

But now 
You feel no grief ? 

Tristram 

My grief was long ago. 
Now I am lapped in stillness and content. 

Iseult of Brittany 
And love ? 

141 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Tristram 
Oh ! yes, and love, gentle Iseult. 

Enter the Duke 

The Duke 

The marriage feast shall be to-morrow's morn, 
If such your pleasure. 

Tristram 

I am ready, sir. 
To wed your child Iseult before the priest. 

\_Exeunt Duke and Iseult of Brittany 

Enter Persides 

Persides 
To-morrow the wedding feast shall be held. 

Tristram 
So they have told me. 

Persides 

Arc you ready, Sir ? 

Tristram 
Ready for what ? 

142 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Persides 

To wed Duke Hod's child. 
Oh ! Httle did we dream in days gone by 
That you would wed Iseult of Brittany. 

Tristram 
Devious and strange is the dark path of Fate. 

Persides 
Mind you the orchard by Tintagel's tower ? 

Tristram 

It seems as though I had been dead since then, 
And all those years are like the shadowy ghosts 
That roam beyond the dark forgetful stream. 

Persides 
And are you happy, Sir ? 

Tristram 

I know not, boy. 
I am not sad, and tranquil is my heart. 
Yet all is strange to me ; this life, this Castle, 
Iseult of Brittany. Is this a dream ? 
And have I died and found another world ? 

Persides 
It is no dream. 

143 



[)RAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

I feel that I am borne 
Gently upon a river to the sea, 
To a wide ocean of content and calm. 

Persides 
Perchance a storm awaits you on that sea. 

Tristram 

I know not ; but I know that it is sweet 
To drift upon the flood and to forget. 

Persides 
Have you forgotten ? 

Tristram 

All is strange and dim ; 
I am secure in the strong hand of Fate ; 
I feel as though, from a long fever freed, 
I looked with dreamy eyes on a new world. 



Persides 
Know you this song ? It is a lullaby. 

An orchard grows beyond the sea^ 
Encircled by a wall of air ; 

The blossom falls not from the tree^ 
The earth smells sweetly there. 
144 



Sings 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Two lovers dream within that wall, 
The night it lasts j or ever there ; 

For in the dawn no bugle-call 
Can break that wall of air. 

Tristram 
Haply I heard it in the days gone by. 



Scene III. — Iseult of Brittany's Room. Wedding 
Procession, with Torches, ■passes across the 
stage 

Enter Tristram and Iseult of Brittany 

Iseult of Brittany 

It is a wondrous night, the sea is singing 

A lullaby of love ; was ever night 

As soft and warm as this on Cornwall's shores ? 

Tristram 
Yes, often there the nights were soft and warm. 

Iseult of Brittany 
And there you used to wander in the woods ? 

Tristram 
Ah, yes ! 

L 145 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
IsEULT OF Brittany 

To seek adventure, to set free 
Captives, and to deliver lovely Queens ? 

Tristram 
I never met but with one lovely Queen. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
What was her name ? 

Tristram 

The self-same name as thine, 
" Iseult." 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Did you deliver this Iseult ? 
From whom ? and how ? 

Tristram 

A King had sentenced her 
To death : he thought that she was false to him. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Had she been false ? 

Tristram 

Nay, she was never false. 
146 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
You set her free, and then ? 

Tristram 

And then she fled. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Alone ? 

Tristram 

A faithful slave had followed her. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
And what became of her ? 

Tristram 

The King forgave, 
And she returned and dwelt with him in peace. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
And did she give you no reward, no gift ? 

Tristram 

I asked for no reward. What should she give ? 
Nay, it is true, bidding farewell, one gift 
She gave. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

What gift ? 

147 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Tristram 

A ring ; I had forgot. 
But see, it is upon my finger still — 
This little jasper hoop that glitters green. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Give me that ring ! 

Tristram 

You have the ring I gave 
Before the priest. 'Twould not be meet to change. 
[Tristram goes to the zvindozv and gaz.es out 
071 to the sea 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Tristram, my Lord, what is it ails you ? Speak — 
Come to me : seal our marriage with a kiss. 

Tristram 

Iseult, I pray you be not wrath with me ; 

But long ago I made a solemn vow — 

I was in dreadful peril in a battle. 

When, mindful of the Blessed Virgin's name, 

I vowed, that if She saved me from the peril, 

I would, when wedded, let a whole year pass 

Before I gave and took the wedding kiss. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
So be it ! Oh, my Lord : fulfil thy vow ! 

148 



ACT IV 

Hall in Tintagel. King Mark and Iseult are 
seated on two Thrones surrounded by Courtiers 

Enter Tristram disguised as a Madman 
Courtier 
A crazy madman, Sir, has come to Court. 

King Mark 
Let the mad fool approach. 

\They lead him to the King 
Welcome, Sir friend. 

Tristram 

Hail ! best and noblest of all Kings ; I knew 
My heart would melt if I should see thy face. 

King Mark 
What seek you here, Sir fool ? 

Tristram 

I seek Iseult ; 
Iseult the Fair I loved in days gone by. 
I bring you, sir, my sister ; let us change : 
For the Queen wearies you, give her to me. 

149 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

King Mark 
And whither would you take Iseult, the Queen ? 

Tristram 

Beyond the clouds and far above the sun ; 
To where my castle with the filmy walls 
Hangs like an opal in the morning air. 

Courtiers 
The madman speaketh well. 

King Mark 

What made thee hope 
The Queen would heed a crazy fool like thee ? 

Tristram 

I have the right to hope. I for her sake 
Have suffered many things, and lost my wits. 

Iseult of Cornwall 
Who art thou, Madman .'* 

Tristram 

I no longer know ; 
But in the days gone by I was a Minstrel ; 
I loved the moon, and all night long I sang 
Louder and sweeter than the nightingale. 
Song made me mad at last. 

150 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

What is thy name ? 

Tristram 

" Wanderer," for I have wandered o'er the world, 
And seen the dark dominions of the dead ; 
There on the sable throne a pallid Queen 
Sits crowned with flowers that grew by streams 

of dusk ; 
Her eyes are sadder than the withered flowers, 
And sad and listless is her silent smile. 

King Mark 
Spake you with her ? 

Tristram 

I sang her a soft song 
Of a strange orchard walled about with air. 
Where yellow daffodils upon the grass 
Are sprinkled thick like stars ; and when I sang 
She wept, for she remembered flowers like those. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 
Sing us the song. 

Tristram 

I have forgotten it ; 
And there is no more song within my heart. 

151 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
IsEULT OF Cornwall 
Know you the ballad of the jasper ring ? 

Tristram 

A thousand ballads echo in my brain ; 
I cannot sing ; the lute within my heart 
Is broken, and its strings can only wail ; 
Yet, long ago, I loved the silver moon ; 
She came to earth and kissed me while I slept. 
It was a foolish thing to love the moon. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 
Then it was love that made you mad ? 

Tristram 

Not love 
Alone ; I was enchanted by a spell. 
I sailed upon the broomstick of a witch 
Who willed that wheresoever I should go 
Her name should haunt me like a jingling bell ; 
I could not rid me of the silver sound 
That tinkled in my heart : it made me mad. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 
What was the witch's name ? 

Tristram 

It was Iseult. 
152 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Cornwall (To King) 

Was ever there so mad a loon ? 

[jTo Tristram] They say- 
There was a wizard in Avilion's Isle, 
Who bore around his neck a faery bell ; 
And they who heard its sound forgot their grief. 
Know you of this ? 

Tristram 

Once, it was long ago, 
I met a knight who had a fa^ry bell ; 
He gave it to his lady-love, and she 
Forgot him. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Thou dost lie ! 

Tristram 

Know you the Knight ? 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

How should I know him, crazy fool ? and yet 
Thou shalt not blame a woman here. 

Tristram 

Iseult, 
O give me back my wits you stole away. 
When in the guise of the bright moon you lived. 
Give me the wits you stole a second time, 
When you bewitched me with a haunting name. 

153 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 
King, bid this fool begone ; he wearies me. 

Tristram 

O ! see you not the Queen is smit with love ? 
Mark you how pale she is, how bright the 

flame 
That glistens in her eyes. She is a witch ! 
O, burn her at the stake, King Mark, for she 
Would shame you for the love of a mad fool. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 
O cursed madman, you are crazed with wine. 

Tristram 

'Tis true that I am crazed ; but with a wine 

Whose bitter fumes will never die away. 

O Queen, can you recall that summer noon ? 

The sail was flapping idly in the air ; 

There was no land in sight, the sailors slept. 

The sea was gold ; the sky was hot like fire. 

And you were thirsty ; have you quite forgot ? 

We drank together of the self-same cup. 

Since then I have been maddened with that wine. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 
Sir, drive this man away. I will not hear him. 

154 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 
King Mark 

Wait : let us hear his madness to the end. 
Say, fool, what canst thou do ? 

Tristram 

I play the harp. 
And in the forest like a thrush I sing, 
And in the orchard like a nightingale. 
I can slay dragons, kill false-hearted Knights, 
Throw shreads of bark upon the running stream ; 
Love Queens, and live on berries in a wood. 
Am I not. Sir, a goodly minstrel ? See ! 

[He belabours the Courtiers with his stick 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Sir, I am weary; let me seek my room. 
I can no longer hear this noisy fool. 

King Mark 

'Tis we will leave you. Follow us, mad fool. 
And show your skill in sport and song. 
[Exeunt King Mark, Tristram, and Courtiers 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Brangwaine ! 
Brangwaine ! My heart is sick with hope and 

fear ; 
A fool, a madman, has been here, and he 

155 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Must be a wizard, for he knows my life. 
The secret things none know but you and I ; 

Unless 

Brancwaine 
Unless 'tis Tristram ! 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Oh, the hope ! 
The fear ! If it be he, how dares he come 
And risk a shameful death ? 

Brancwaine 

Queen, calm thyself : 
Haply this man is Tristram's messenger. 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Go, bring him hither ; I will to my chamber ; 
Fetch me, if haply what you think be true. 
[Exit IsEULT. Exit Brancwaine and returns 
with Tristram 

Tristram 
Brangwaine, Brangwaine, have pity upon me ! 

Brancwaine 
Madman, what demon taught my name to you ? 

156 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Tristram 

Ah ! long ago, Brangwalne, I learnt your name, 

And if my wits have left me it is you 

Who are the cause ; for should you not have 

guarded 
The poison that I drank upon the sea ? 
Out of a silver cup, in the great heat 
I drank, and gave the goblet to Iseult ; 
Brangwaine, can you recall that breathless hour ? 

Brangwaine 
No! 

Tristram 

Pity, pity on me ! 

Enter Iseult of Cornwall 

Pity, Queen ! 
[He of ens his arms to embrace Queen ; she 
shrinks^ shuddering, from him 

[Exit Brangwaine 
Tristram 

Ah ! truly I have lived a day too long, 

For I have been rejected by Iseult. 

She spurns and shrinks from me. Iseult ! Iseult ! 

Slow to forget is he who loveth well. 

Iseult of Cornwall 
I doubt ! I am afraid ! I do not know ! 

157 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

Iseult, I am that Tristram whom you loved, 
Who loved you for so long. Have you forgot 
The shrcads of bark I cast upon the stream ? 
The friendly shadow of the tall pine tree ? 
The orchard like the orchard of the song ? 
Have you forgot the forest where we dwelt ? 
Our Courtiers that were purple butterflies, 
Our gems the dewdrops, and our gold the 

broom. 
The blackbird was our minstrel all day long ; 
At dusk, in the dark aisle by fireflies lit. 
The nightingales our " Ave Mary " sang. . . . 
She speaks no word. Ah ! will she know this 

ring ? 
The little jasper ring she gave to mc. 
No walls, she said, no bars, no stern command 
Will keep me from fulfilling my friend's wish. 

Iseult of Cornwall 
O ! Tristram, take me : I am here fur thee. 

Tristram 

But why were you so long to know mc, 

friend ? 
What is the ring ."* It had been sweeter far 
If you, but by the memories of our love. 
Had known me. 

158 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 

Sooner than you spoke I knew. 
Think you I did not know your sad, sad eyes ? 
I knew ; but, Tristram, I was sick with fear ; 
For enemies surround me on all sides. 
I thought that haply an enchanter's spell 
Deceived me, that some foe was mocking me. 
I knew, yet dared not know, that it was you ; 
I trembled lest my heart should lend them sight. 
I feared ; I waited for the jasper ring. 
And, now I see the ring, I yield to you ; 
I swore to do what you should wish, O friend. 
If I should see that ring, and here am I: 
Wisdom be it or folly, take me now. 

Tristram 

Know you, Iseult, why I have sought you here. 
Disguised in this wild garb ? I came, Iseult, 
Because I know the hour of Death is nigh : 
I know that I shall perish far away 
From you, and banished from my heart's desire. 
I know the hour of Death is almost come. 

Iseult of Cornwall 

Hold me and kiss me, so that our two hearts 
May break, and that our souls may fly away. 
Oh ! take me to the far-off land of bliss 
Of which you used to tell me long ago : 
To the green orchard walled with wizard air. 

159 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

Yes, I will take you to the land of bliss. 

The hour is nigh. Have we not drained the 

dregs 
Of bitter misery and bitter joy ? 
The whole of happiness, the whole of grief ? 
The hour is nigh when all shall be fulfilled ; 
If I should call you, will you come to me ? 

IsEULT OF Cornwall 
Call me, my friend ; you know that I will come. 

Tristram 

God bless you, friend, for this, your loving 
thought. 

Enter Heralds, Courtiers, King Mark, if^c. 

Heralds blow their trumpets 

King Mark (To IsEULT OF Cornwall) 

Fair Queen, the King of Carducl, with his 

Knights 
Is here ; come, let us go to welcome him. 

[He takes Iseult by the hand and leads her to 
the door, followed by the Barons and the 
Courtiers 

1 60 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

A Squire (To Tristram) 

Fool, heard you not that Carduel's King had 

come ? 
Your place is with the beggars and the dogs ; 
Get hence. 

Tristram 

'Tis fruitless toil to banish me, 
For here my task is finished to the end. 



M l6l 



ACT V 

Scene I. — Castle of Carhaix 

Duchess Hoel 

My child, what ails you ? Listless, sad, and pale 
You seem to me. 

Iseult of Brittany 

Have I not cause for care, 
Since to-day Tristram leaves me for the fight ? 

Duchess 

What is the fight to him ? He all his life 
Has fought ; and on the earth he has no peer. 

Iseult of Brittany 

Yet it is sad for mc to say farewell. 
Last night I dreamed that Tristram came to me, 
Back from the battle, crowned with leaves of fire ; 
And from his forehead, darker than a ruby, 
The red blood dropped, and he was pale as death, 
I cried, but oh ! he paid no heed to me ! 

162 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Duchess 
My child, this is but folly. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

It is true ; 
But I am foolish, for my love is great. 

Duchess 

See, it is he : he comes to say farewell. 

[Exit Duchess 
Enter Tristram 

Tristram 
The hour has come to say farewell, Iseult. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
But when wilt thou return ? 

Tristram 

Soon, soon, Iseult, 
Unless I fall in battle. 

Iseult of Brittany 
God forfend . 

Tristram 



It were a goodly death. 

163 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

O, speak not thus. 

Tristram 

It were a goodly death to fall in battle ; 
Yet have no fear, for I shall soon return. 

ISEULT OF BrI'ITANY 

Tristram, my Lord, I am a foolish child. 
In everything I would fulfil thy wish ; 
But one thing I desire : I pray you stay, 
And go not to this fight. 

Tristram 

I gave my word. 
Iseult, I swear thy fears are foolishness. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

This is the only boon that I have craved, 
The only gift I need. If in your heart 
There be a little love, I beg you stay. 

Tristram 

Iseult, my little lily-handed child, 

I swore to meet this foe ; my word is pledged. 

I swear to you there is no cause for fear. 

164 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Then be it as you will. Farewell, farewell. 

Tristram 

Farewell, gentle Iseult, few days shall pass 
Before I come again. 

Iseult of Brittany 

Farewell, farewell. 

[Exit Tristram 
Griselda ! 

Enter Griselda 
He is gone ! Tristram is gone ! 

Griselda 

What troubles you ? We knew that he should go. 
Before three days are past he will return. 

Iseult of Brittany 

I prayed him not to go. Last night I dreamed 
That he was dead. 

Griselda 

Lady, dreams are deceit. 

165 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

'Tis not my dream that saddens me ; but now 
I suffer with great sadness, for I know 
That Tristram loves me not, and never now 
Will Tristram love me. 

Griselda 

Nay, you are distraught ! 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

I know ; I know. For were there in his heart 
One ray of love, he would have seen the thought 
That lies within the darkness of my heart. 
And he could not have gone. 

Griselda 

These words are folly, 
Begot of groundless fear. 

Iseult of Brittany 

He loves me not. 
Ah ! long ago I feared he loved me not ; 
But foolishly I thought that love would come ; 
But now there is another whom he loves. 

Griselda 
Lady, 'tis madness ! 

i66 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

No, it is the truth, 
I know not whom he loves, but there is one ; 
He could not gaze and gaze across the sea 
With such sad, wistful eyes, did he not love. 
I know not who she is ; I only know 
He loves her, and that she is far away. 



Scene H. — Castle of Carhaix. Tristram lying 
on a Bed 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
How fares it, Tristram ? 

Tristram 

It is well, the wound 
Aches not so sorely ; soon will it be healed. 
Iseult, bring me thy brother. I have words 
That I must speak to him. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

He comes, my Lord. 

Enter Sir Kay Hedius 

Tristram 
And I would speak with him awhile alone. 

167 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

IsFULT OF Brittany 
'Tis well. I go. 

IsEULT goes, hut hides behind the arras oj the door 

Tristram 

My friend, my wound is sore. 
The s\v(jrd of Bedalis I slew, from whom 
1 got this w(jund, was poisoned, and I know 
That it will never heal, and I shall die. 

Sir Kay Hedius 
Nay, speak not thus. 

Tristram 

Already I can hear 
The muffled step of Death upon the stair ; 
There is no doubting of that sound : I die. 
But O true friend, who knuwest all my story, 
Who, understanding all, hast pardoned me ; 
Before I die I fain would see Iseult, 
Iseult the Fair, Iseult whom I loved well ; 
And, had I but a messenger U) send, 
I know that swiftly ^he would come to me. 

Sir Kay Hedius 

I will to Cornwall. I will bring her here : 
Tristram, for you I would risk many deaths, 
And nought shall hinder me in this attempt ! 
Give me your message and I will set out. 

i68 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Tristram 

I thank you. Take this jasper ring to her ; 

If she but see it she will find a way 

To hear you. Tell her I am dying now ; 

That only she can bring me help and life. 

Bid her be mindful of our happy days, 

Of all our joy, of all our misery ; 

Our love, the cup we drained upon the sea ; 

The oath I swore to love but her alone. 

I kept the oath. The oath she swore to me 

To come if she should see my jasper ring. 



*Tis well. 



Sir Kay Hedius 



Tristram 



But to thy sister say no word. 
Tell her you go to seek a leech for me. 
Two sails take with you ; one black and one 

white ; 
And if you bring Iseult with you, then hoist 
The white sail ; if without her you return, 
Let it be black. I have no more to say. 
Farewell, and may God bring you safely home. 

Sir Kay Hedius 

I go. I will bring back Iseult the Fair. 

[Exit Sir Kay Hedius 

169 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Enter Iseult of Brittany 

ISEULT OF BrIITANY 

Where is my brother ? 

Tristram 

He has gone, Iseult, 
Far off to fetch a sage, who, skilled in herbs. 
Alone can heal my aching wound. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

'Tis well 
I for his swift and safe return will pray. 



Scene III. — Hall in Castle at Carhaix 

Griselda 
My Lord still sleeps. 

Iseult of Brittany 

Oh ! It fares ill with him. 
He has not bid us bear him to the beach. 
Whence all day long he gazed upon the sea. 

Griselda 
He is too weary. 

I/O 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Weary, too, am I. 
My heart, too, has been poisoned with a wound. 

Griselda 
What wound ? 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

My heart is full of bitter hate, 
And with a great desire to be revenged. 

Griselda 
On whom ? 

Iseult of Brittany 

Griselda, dark is my despair ! 
'Twas bitter when I feared he loved me not, 
But oh ! the greater bitterness I taste 
Now, that I know my utmost fear was true ! 
I loved him so. And who is there on earth 
Who could have given him greater love than I ? 
I hoped, I dreamed that he could love me too. 
And cold is the awakening from that dream ! 

Griselda 
Thy grief has made thee wild. 

Iseult of Brittany 

Hush, hush, he wakes ! 
171 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Tristram 

See you the white sail ? 



ISEULT OF BklTTANV 

On the wide grey sea 
There is no sail. 

Tristram 

My wound, my wound is sore. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Sleep, Tristram, sleep ; soon will the ship be here. 

Tristram 

I have just slept. I dreamed a wondrous dream 
Of a coul orcliard uallcd about with air, 
And watered by a rippling silver stream. 
See you no sail ? 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Upon the w ide grey sea 
There is no sail. 

Tristram 

I dreamed that on the grass 
I lay, and listened to a summer song. 
Softer than any song the Minstrel sings. 
See you no ship ? 

172 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 
IsEULT OF Brittany 

The sea is calm and still. 
As far as the sky-line there is no sail. 

Tristram 

All day, all night, strange visions visit me ; 
I dreamed that I was sailing in a ship, 
On a hot summer noon, and called for water, 
And in a silver cup they brought me wine ; 
It seemed so cool, but ah ! it was not cool, 
But hot and bitter, I can taste it still. 
Oh ! will the fiery fumes not melt away ? 
Will nothing cool the fever in my brain ? 
Will nothing stay the aching in my heart ? 
Alas ! Alas ! it was a poisoned wound. 
Look ! Haply now across the sea there comes 
The ship that bears the herb to heal my wound. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 
Out of the west a little breeze has sprung. 

Tristram 

Hark ! I can hear the tinkling of a bell ! 

O fagry chime, I recognise thy voice ; 

It is the music of Avilion's isle. 

The wizard bell I gave unto my friend ; 

Glad is the heart of him who hears that bell. 

A shining light has filled the lampless world ! 

173 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Feci you the fragrance of the breeze ? The ship ! 
The ship ! I hear the motion of the sail ; 
I hear the bubbling of the flying foam. 
The ship has come with sunlight and with song 
To bring me life. 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

'Tis true : around the clifl: 
A ship is coming and is running swift 
Upon the beach. 

Tristram 

Oh, look ! look at the sail I 
Is the sail white .'' Can you not sec the sail ? 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

I see the sail, for they have hauled it high. 
Tristram, the sail is black. 

Tristram {Turning to the tcall) 

Now I can live 
No more. Iseult my life ! Iseult my death ! 
Iseult ! 

Iseult of Brittany 

What have I done ? Speak, Tristram ! 
Speak ! 
What have I done ? Griselda ! come to me. 
Tristram is dead ! 

174 



TRISTRAM AND ISEULT 

Enter Griselda and Knights 

Griselda 

Woe ! Woe ! Tristram is dead ! 
Let the bells toll. Tristram the brave, the true ; 
Tristram is dead ! The peerless Knight ! Woe ! 
Woe! 

Enter Duke and Duchess 

IsEULT OF Brittany 

Oh ! come not near me : leave me to my grief ! 

[Knights carry the body (t/" Tristram a7id lay 

it on a bier. They spread a rich cloth over 

it, and lay his sword on it. Iseult of 

Brittany kneels down by the bier 

Duke 

O faithful Tristram ! No one in the world 
Has ever served his King as you served me. 

[Bells toll 

Enter Iseult of Cornwall 

Iseult of Cornw^all 

Tristram, where is he ? 

[She walks up to Tristram's body 
[To Iseult of Brittany] Lady, go you hence 
And let me come. I have the greater right 

175 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

To weep upon his body, for I loved him 
More than you loved him. 

[Turning to the East 
God receive my soul. 
Tristram, out of the cup you gave to me 
I drank my death, but with the death was love, 
The love that lives for ever. O my friend. 



.76 



PROSERPINE 

A MASQUE 

Ka< TToOtju) Kal fxao/J-ai 
TO MADAME BULTEAU 



N 



PERSONS OF THE MASQUE 

Proserpine, disguised as Rosemary. 

The Prince. 

King Pharamond. 

The Princess {his daughter). 

Lily of the Valley. 

Rosalind. 

Heartsease {a dairymaid). 

A Monk. 

A Merchant. 

A Soldier. 

A Juggler. 

A Shepherd. 

An Old Man. 

A Squire. 

Soldiers, Courtiers, Maidens, Ghosts. 

Place : Sicily. 
Time : Indefinite. 



PROSERPINE 

A MASQUE 

ACT I 

Scene I 

Sicily. A grove in a cirque of purple mountains. 
On the Left is a doric temple built of golden 
coloured marble. Behind it a large clump of 
cypress trees. On the Right a sloping hill 
also crowned with cypresses. The grass is 
bright with anemones and spring flowers. 

Chorus of Maidens enter r. and cross the stage 
singing. They are dressed in many-coloured 
draperies and zvear garlands of flowers, and 
hear branches of blossom in their hands. 

Chorus 

Where does the Queen of the Fairies dwell ? 
East of the sun and west of the moon : 
Whisper her name by the wishing well, 
Curtsey and dance to the tinkling tune. 

179 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Why is her garland of petals red ? 
East of the sun and west of the moon : 
They grew in the sunless fields of the dead, 
Curtsey and dance to the tinkling tunc. 

Why is she pale as the marble stone ? 
East of the sun and west of the moon : 
Never a sun on the sable throne ; 
Curtsey and dance to the tinkling tune. 

Why is her sceptre an asphodel ? 
East of the sun and west of the moon : 
They gave it her once in the halls of Hell ; 
Curtsey and dance to the tinkling tune. 

Speak the word to be said at the shrine, 
East of the sun and west ni the moon : 
Call on her name that is Proserpine ; 
Curtsey and dance to the tinkling tunc. 

Why with the fac'ry folk doth <he dwell ? 
East of the sun and west of the moon : 
Oh ! dark for Heaven, and bright for Hell ! 
Curtsey and dance to the tinkling tune. 

The Prince 

What festival, fair maidens, do you keep ? 
What deity of forest, field or stream. 
Receives the homage of your minstrelsy ? 

i8o 



PROSERPINE 

Lily of the Valley 

We dwell in yonder village, and our song 
Is one of welcome to the new-born spring. 

[The Maidens zvalk into the temple, except 
Lily of the Valley, who remains behind 

Lily of the Valley 

The shadows deepen ; after set of sun 
This place for mortal man is perilous. 

The Prince 
What is this haunt of dark mysterious things ? 

Lily of the Valley 

The place is consecrate to Proserpine ; 
From immemorial time the sanctuary 
Gleams in the shadow of the cypress trees. 

The Prince 
Doth priest or priestess worship Proserpine ? 

Lily of the Valley 

The temple is deserted ; never a priest 
Upon the altar offers sacrifice : 
See, the grass grows upon the crumbling steps ; 
The swallows build beneath the cornices, 
And unmolested in the mossy porch 
The lizard basks and listens to our song. 

i8i 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Prince 

But wherefore did you sing a festal chant ? 
And wherefore arc you garlanded with flowers ? 

Lily of the Valley 

We maidens still in the mute sanctuary 
Pay homage to the goddess of the spring. 
The village folk avoid the lonely place ; 
They say that he who after set of sun 
Lingers here, falls beneath a deadly spell. 

The Prince 
A spell ? 

Lily of the Valley 

The witchery of Proserpine. 

The Prince 
And he who is bewitched ? 

Lily of the Valley 

Untimely dies. 

The Prince 
But you are not afraid ? 

Lily of the \^alley 

Queen Proserpine 
Is favourable to our minist'ring. 

182 



PROSERPINE 

We are her trustful slaves, she harms us not. 
We fear not even though the village tales 
Of hauntings and of sorcery be true. 
They say that flames, lit by no mortal hand, 
Are seen here in the first warm nights of 

spring ; 
And that the dead in legions numberless 
March to the temple through autumnal mists ; 
The tales they tell are many, many, many. 
Of visions, and of elfin voices heard. 
Lately new rumours to the village came 
Of how the ancient gods had been dethroned. 
And wandered homeless in the haunts of men. 
Of how the elves of meadow and of wood 
Begged Proserpine to come and be their Queen. 
Some say in this green cirque of cypresses, 
Before the temple on Midsummer Night, 
The faery people worship Proserpine ; 
That mortals who behold this mystery 
Must die within the year. And Rosalind, 
One of the suppliants, saw the shadowy dance ; 
The elves like fireflies twinkled in the grass. 
And Proserpine walked down the temple steps. 

Rosemary enters from the temple. She remains on 
the steps and sings 

I came with the swallow and with the swallow I go. 
Nevermore shall I see you, friend ; 

Softly over whatever was here the waters flow. 
The eveni^ig has come and the end. 

183 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The hemlock flute in the spring and the grass- 
hopper^s song 
For ever shall sound in your dream ; 
My dream is dark^ my dream is silent^ my dream is 
long, 
By the reeds oj the sable stream. 

The Prince 

Who is this maiden singing a strange tunc ? 

Lily of the Valley 

Wc call her Rosemary. A maiden strange 

And wistful even as her sad slow song. 

She came with the wild tulips in the spring ; 

We know not wliencc — she never told her story. 

She loves the temple ; every day she brings 

Bright garlands and a sacrifice of flowers. 

She sleeps within the temple's dreadful courts 

Unterrified, and heedless of the dark. 

We love her ; for her ways are soft and gentle, 

Even as the tlute-likc sadness of her song, 

And the great liquid deeps of her dark eyes. 

She is the priestess of the sanctuary, 

And there's a something sacred clings to her, 

A secret majesty, a royal fervour. 

The villagers with mingled fear and love 

Regard her, though some say she is a witch, 

Others that she was horn in fat'rvland. 

Yet they are glad she oilers sacrifice, 

Deeming it brings good fortune to the place. 

[Rosemary comes dou:n the st^ps 
184 



PROSERPINE 

Lily of the Valley {To the Pri7ice) 

I leave you. Yet beware ; for twilight falls. 

\She goes up the temple steps 

Rosemary 
Are you a suppliant ? 

The Prince 

No, by chance I found 
The temple. I am for a neighbouring place : 
The sea-girt city of King Pharamond. 

Rosemary 
His daughter is the fairest in the land. 

The Prince 

So it is said. 

Rosemary 

Beyond all mortal beauty. 
She is the first-born rose of summertide, 
With heart of fire, and petals of pale dawn ; 
He who beholds her loves her until death. 
Ah ! bright the lot of mortals born to love ! 

The Prince 

Is not your lot to love ? 

i8s 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Rosemary 

My lot is dark ; 
Alien to mortal joy my destiny. 

The Prince 
May you not love ? 

Rosemary 

Unearthly is my fate. 
I serve a jealous goddess. 

The Prince 

Mortals say 
The gods have been dethroned and cast from 
Heaven. 

Rosemary 

Immortal are the gods ; though cast from 

Heaven. 
They still shall find on earth a dwelling-place. 
Albeit men forsake the broken altars, 
And seek strange gods and raise new images, 
Yet shall the ancient gods endure, nor pass. 
So long as men shall live and men shall die 
So long in majesty shall Proserpine 
Await their shades beyond the Stygian stream. 

The Prince 

Though all mankind should follow the new gods, 
I still shall kneel and worship Proserpine ! 

1 86 



PROSERPINE 
Rosemary 
Why do you kneel and worship Proserpine ? 

The Prince 

What other gods have gifts to give hke hers ? 
Their gifts are crowns of laurel, myrtle crowns. 
I do not need these things ; I yearn and seek. 
But Proserpine bestows the great reprieve — 
The sleep that hath no ending and no dream. 

Rosemary 
The sleep is endless ; endless too the dream. 

The Prince 
Who knows what lies beyond the gates of Death ? 

Rosemary 

Fhe pale dominions of Queen Proserpine ; 
rhe waters of white Lethe, where the soul 
hashes away remembrance of this earth ; 
Fhe endless dream in measureless dim fields, 
\ life of shadows and a silent world. 

The Prince 

Vly soul is drawn towards that silent world, 
\nd if I could escape the dream of life 
[ would yield gladly to the dream of death. 

187 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Rosemary 
There is no springtide in the dream of death. 

The Prince 
The dream of life is sultry, brief and loud. 

Rosemary 
There are no voices in the dream of death. 

The Prince 

Life is a garment sewn into the flesh, 
Dusty and hot it weighs the body down. 

Rosemary 
The dream of death is spacious, cool and dark. 

The Prince 

The dream of life is full of sorry sights, 
And shot with grief and many coloured pain. 

Rosemary 

There is no sorrow in the dream of death ; 
There is no mirth, no laughter, and no song. 

The Prince 

How do you know the secrets of the tomb ? 

i88 



PROSERPINE 
Rosemary 

I am the votaress of Proserpine ; 

She favours me, she visits me in dreams. 

But lieth Hfe, then, heavily on you ? 

The Prince 

I know not ; I am haunted by a voice 
That comes I know not whence, a silvery voice 
That steals towards me over the high hills, 
And speaks of spacious cool immensities. 
And forests dense and endless aisles of night, 
And glassy reaches of a sunless river 
Dim and more broad than any earthly sea ; 
Of harbours dark, where many silent ships 
At anchor ride, and stir not in the night. 
A land beyond the sunset and the clouds, 
East of the sun and westward of the moon. 

Rosemary 

East of the sun and westward of the moon 
Dwells Proserpine, the sovran of the dusk. 

The Prince 

The twilight deepens. See, how tall and strange 
The columns gleam against the purple sky. 

Rosemary 

And presently the moon with her few rays 
Will touch their ghostly stature. 

189 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Prince 

Verily 
This is a fitting haunt for Proserpine. 
When in the dawn I galloped on the hills, 
My heart was light with mirth. The setting 

sun. 
The cypresses, the temple and the song 
Have charmed away the mirth of me, and yet — 
And yet the shadow which they bring to me 
Is lined with magic, like a wandering tune 
Heard in the night, that fills the captive soul 
With melancholy which is more than joy. 

[Enter The Prince's Squire 

The Squire 
The night comes on apace. 

The Prince 

We must be stirring. 
Farewell, fair priestess ; when you offer praise 
And prayer to Proserpine, remember me, 
A stranger, who within these haunted precincts 
Lingered no longer than a twilight hour, 
And forthwith rode away into the night 
To come again no more. Farewelh 

Rosemary 

Farewell. 
190 



PROSERPINE 

[The Prince and The Squire walk up to 
the top of the slope on the right. As they 
go Rosemary sings : 

I came with the swallow^ and with the swallow 

1 go, 
Nevermore shall I see you, friend ; 
Softly over whatever was here the waters flow. 
The evening has come and the end. 

[The Prince and The Squire disappear 
behind the hill. From the Temple a 
Chorus of voices is heard singing : 

The moon has risen in the night of spring, 
The sea is marble-smooth, and dark as wine ; 
Oh ! hoist on thy dark ship a silver wing. 
Come to the slumbering earth, Queen Proserpine. 



Bring the swift fireflies, bring the nightingale. 
And on the furrowed hills of corn and vine 
Scatter red poppies, and wild roses frail. 
Upon the slumbering earth. Queen Proserpine. 

Come ! Leave the woods and valleys of the 

night ;^ 
The world is breathless with a hope divine. 
A million swallows from the south take flight. 
Come, Queen of spring and swallows, Proserpine. 

191 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Beneath thy footsteps, like the milky way, 
The little twinkling asphodels shall shine ; 
With flutes of June and cymbals of glad May, 
Come, wake the slumbering earth, Queen Proscr 
pine. 

[The moon rises and lights up the figure of 
RosKMARY, which all at once becomes 
spectral and majestic. A silver halo 
shines round her head and a crown of 
red flowers is seen in her hair. 



Scene II 
The Palace of Kin(. Pharamond 

A large and spacious hall in the paluce, looking c 
to the street. The architecture of the hall i< 
Byzantine ; the walls are a dusky gold. 
Round the room there is a gallery supported by 
short columns of coloured marble. In the 
centre there is a great gateway wide open on to 
the street. Outside a variegated crowd is seen^ 
waiting for the marriage ceremony ; they are 
kept back by halberdiers in parti-coloured 
dress. It is a bright summer day. 

On the Right there is a raised platform wherf, 
under a golden dais, two large thrones are 
placed. 

192 



PROSERPINE 

The King and The Princess enter^ attended by a 
squire and three maidens. The King is an 
old man^ dressed in gold and wears, like a 
Byzantine Emperor, a long train, and a plain 
gold circlet round his head. 7 he Princess 
is dressed all in silver, with a white veil. 

King Pharamond 

Now let the heralds sound a triple blast ; 
Let bearers of the fluttering oriflammes 
Form into rank. Let maidens strew the way 
With myrtle boughs, with lilies white and red. 

The Princess 

Last night a sybil from the mountains came, 
And prayed I would delay the marriage rite ; 
Ill-starred, she said, was this, the chosen day, 
And marked with evil for the Prince and me. 
Let all be done to-morrow, for I dreamed 
A dream that bodes ill chance and grim event. 

The King 
Put these sick fancies from thy fearful mind. 

The Princess 
My Lord, I know disaster lies in ambush. 

[The Prince enters k. followed by a train 
of courtiers and ladies. He kneels on one 
knee to the King. 

o 193 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The King 

The people wait. Let the procession form. 

[The Prince rises. The King Uads The 
Princess to the throne and they both seat 
themselves. The Prince stands on the 
right oj the throne. The heralds and the 
bearers oj the oriflammes, followed by men- 
at-arms , form themselves into ranks. 7/ 
heralds blow a blast on their trumpets. The 
Bells of the Cathedral are heard ringing. 

A Courtier 
Pale is the Prince. 

Another Courtier 

More pale is his betrothed. 
Look, clouded are her eyes, and large with fear. 

First Courtier 

Astrologers foretold disastrous happenings ; 
They read sad presage in the sky last night. 

Second Courtier 
A wizard said the marriage should not be. 

\From the street come sounds of music. A 
high wailing chant is heard to the accom- 
paniment of pipes and flutes. A pro- 
194 



PROSERPINE 

cession of youths and maidens dressed in 
white draperies and bearing lighted tapers 
moves up the street. They carry a bier 
on which lies the body of a young maiden 
covered with lilies oj the valley ; and 
they halt in front oj the open door oJ the 
palace. 

First Courtier 
A funeral bars the way to the marriage feast. 

Second Courtier 
A dismal omen for a day of joy. 

\(^utside the maidens are heard singing ; 

Chorus 

Drop lilies of the valley on her bier, 

For Rosalind is dead, fair Rosalind ; 

Fair as the first white windflower in the wind, 

And frail as the first windflower of the year. 

Her smile was like the foam before a wave, 
Like water lit by stars her slow grey eyes ; 
Her sisters were the dancing dragonfiiies, 
And now the winged moths shall haunt her grave. 

There is no stone shall mark her grassy tomb, 
But once a year, when dies the early bloom, 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The cherry tree shall mourn for her, and shed 
Frail tears, and softly shall the petals lie, 
And softly fall, and falling seem to sigh : 
" Fair Rosalind, frail Rosalind, is dead." 

[The Maidens form a circle round the bier 
and drop flowers on it 

She has gone down into the sunless day, 

There where the beckoning springtime never 

comes, 
To scentless fields, where the bee never hums, 
To silent woods and skies for ever grey. 

Ah ! weep, for she was young and she was fair ; 

She was athirst for sunshine and for mirth. 
For the glad sights and sounds of the sweet 

earth, 
And now she wanders cold in the pale air. 

Have pity on the shade of Rosalind, 

She stretches out her hands in vain regret. 

For in thy kingdom there is no west wind. 

No wheat, nor any roses, and no vine ; 

She loved these things ; grant that she may 

forget. 
And drown her dreams in sleep, calm Proserpine. 

[The Mourners raise the bier and jorm into 
procession once more. 

A single voice is heard singing : 

196 



PROSERPINE 

/ came with the swallow and with the swallow I go. 
Nevermore shall I see you, friend ; 

Softly over whatever was here the waters flow ; 
The evening has come and the end. 

The hemlock flute in the spring and the grass- 
ho-pfer'^s song, 
For ever will sound in your dream ; 
My dream is dark, my dream is silent, my dream is 
long, 
By the reeds of the sable stream. 

[The Prince starts, and, like a man in a 
dream, he walks to the gateway opening 
on the street and walks out and mingles 
with the mourners ; the funeral chant 
continues and The Prince disappears. 
The Princess turns pale. The King 
and the courtiers stare at The Prince 
as he goes in sile?it amazement. A cloud 
seems to come over the sun and the whole 
room becomes nearly dark. The pro- 
cession passes the window, and in the 
distance the funeral chant and the high 
piping of flutes are heard dying away. 



197 



ACT II 

The cypress grove by the Temple^ as in Act I 

It is summer. The chorus of maidens enters^ 
singing as at the end of the last scene, followed 
by Lily of the Valley and The Prince. 

Chorus 

When Rosalind across the dark stream sped. 
The shades that wait beside the Stygian stream 
Wondered, for never came so fair a ghost ; 
They thought the moon had risen in their 

dream ; 
Then softly bowing down, the shadowy host 
Sighed : " Rosalind, fair Rosalind, is dead." 

Thy slumber is unvisited by dreams ; 
Thou hast forgotten the broad hours of noon. 
The sunrise and the dusk, the rising moon. 
The murmur of the fields, the tinkling streams. 

The whistling of the men that mow and reap, 
The winepress and the scent of mellow fruit, 
The horn upon the hills, the answering flute. 
Sweeten no more the softness of thy sleep. 

198 



PROSERPINE 

Thou wanderest now amongst the drowsy flowers, 
Tall twinkling asphodels and poppies red ; 
On Proserpine's pomegranate thou hast fed, 

Thou yearnest now no more for days and hours. 
For the forbidden springtime and the showers ; — 
Thou art contented now amongst the dead. 

[The Maidens and Lily of the Valley 
walk into the Temple. The Prince 
remaifis outside. He gazes at the Tern fie 
as though dazed. 

The Prince 

Was it a dream, or have I just awaked 

From life's brief dream ? Or am I dead indeed ? 

[A loud noise of laughter and talk is heard. 
A Soldier, A Merchant, A Juggler, 
A Shepherd, A Monk, and an Old 
Man enter. They seat themselves on the 
grass in front of the Temple. The Prince 
stands aside and looks on. 

The Merchant 

This is the place to spend a slumberous noon, 
'Tis cool and shady. 

The Old Man 

More than cool, 'tis cold. 
199 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Merchant 

Drink of this flagon. It is filled with wine 
Potent enough to wake the sleeping dead. 

The Juggler 
The dead receive their bellyful of fire. 

The Merchant 
The damned. 

The Juggler 

The dead, the damned, it is the same. 

The Soldier 

Give me the flagon. Wine is fur the living. 

[He takes a pull at the flask 
A fiery wine. 

The Merchant 

A wine for gods and kings ! 
To-night there will be need of fiery wine 
At the King's table for the funeral feast. 

[He laughs 
They say she wept a bucketful of tears. 

The Juggler 
The tears of a Princess are short-lived tears. 

The Merchant 
She will not quickly find a wealthier Prince. 

200 



PROSERPINE 

The Prince 

Your pardon, sirs, I am from foreign lands ; 
Was Pharamond's fair daughter wed to-day ? 

The Juggler 

The festival had scarce begun at noon ; 
When lo ! the bridegroom fled. 

The Prince 
Whither and why ? 

The Juggler 

He fled into the crowd ; 
He vanished ; wherefore, whither, no man knows. 

The Shepherd 
They say he loved her not. 

The Merchant 

A Prince's love ! 
Princes are wedded to maintain their lineage ; 
To fortify the state by regal ties, 
And to bring gold to empty treasuries. 

The Shepherd 
Princes are made of flesh like mortal men. 

201 



nr<AMATIC POEMS 
The Juggler 
Flesh, rotten flesh ! the deviFs savoury food. 

The Prince 

Yet far and wide the minstrels sing the praise 
Of ihc King's daughter. 

The Juggler 

Yes, the lass is fair ; 
Too fair, too swiftly fair ; the bloom will vaniih 
As soon as she has grown to womanhood, 
And leave her parched and dry. Perchance the 

Prince 
Guessed at the truth and wisely went away. 

The Shepherd 
Nay, beauty such as hers can never die. 

Tml Juggler 

Hark at him ! Beauty lasts a fitful hour. 
Queen Gueneverc, for whom Sir Lancelot 
Loved and fought hard, came to that nunnery 
Crippled and bt)wcd with ague and chill pains. 
And when the knights rode past the convent gate 
And someone cried : " The nun with snow-white 

hair, 
Who totters feebly to the cloister well. 
Is Guencvcre," they laughed his words to scorn. 

202 



PROSERPINE 

Iseult of Cornwall once was beautifuJ, 

She loved her Tristram well. Alack ! he found 

In Brittany, betimes, a fresher face — 

Iseult the Lily-handed ; he forgot 

His former love, although she sailed to him, 

Across th' insensate sea, when he lay sick ; — 

And dying from her face he turned away, 

Nor recognized the features of his friend. 

The Shepherd 

And yet there is a wondrous thing called Love ; 

A mystery, a blessed miracle, 

A sacrament, most holy, most divine. 

The Juggler 

Fools call it love ; and the priest calls it sin. 
The Devil calls it lust. The Devil knows. 
What made the sceptre of Imperial Rome 
Fall from the grasp of brave Mark Antony ? 
Because a wasp-like gypsy stung his flesh, 
And in his veins a riotous venom ran 
Which maddened him and left him languorous. 
A pretty scene ! The high-souled warrior 
Helpless and crazy as a rudderless ship. 
Pinned to a petticoat, while empires crashed. 
Regardless of his height and his renown. 
And heedless of the fate of ruining worlds, 
Languidly drifting to ignoble doom, 
To satisfy a royal harlot's lust. 
And Helen — what was the rare miracle 

203 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Which made fair Helen fly her husband's hom< 
And mowed, like grass, the chivalr\' of Greece 
What was the sacrament, the myster)', 
That bade false Paris seek a paramour ? 

Ih sings : 

Fair Helen wearied of her lord. 

And Paris pleased her eye ; 
He looked at her ; she blushed and said : 

" Together let us fly." 

With Paris Helen ran from home, 

She crcjssed the purple main ; 
Ten thousand galleys full<nvcd her 

To bring her home gain. 

Ten years the bravest sons of Greece 

Fought for a woman's shame ; 
A faithless wife's desire that flared 

And died like fickle flame. 

They fought beneath the walls of Troy, 
They fought for ten years long ; 

The father died, the child at home 
Cursed Helen in his song. 

They fought beneath the walls of Troy, 
They fought for ten long years. 

And husbands died, and wives at home 
Cursed Helen in their tears. 
204 



PROSERPINE 

They took by stealth the walls of Troy, 
They burnt them to the ground ; 

They buried Helen's lover deep 
Under a heavy mound. 

They brought false Helen home again, 
And she grew old and grey ; 

She mourned in vain her perished charms 
Until her dying day. 

She met her lover in the shades, 

He turned his face aside ; 
" I am that Helen whom you loved, 

Helen of Troy," she cried. 

" Helen of Troy was young and fair, 

I know you not," he said ; 
The shivering ghost of Helen moaned. 

And bowed her royal head. 

The Devil laughed and cracked his whip 
And said : " As I've heard tell, 

On earth ye twain were lovers once : 
Be lovers here in Hell. 

For nothing now shall part ye twain, 

And in the icy place 
Paris shall have no other sight 

Than Helen's wrinkled face." 
205 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Soldier 

I care not for your Helens and Iscults, 
In yonder village there are red-lipped lasses, 
Fresh as ripe cherries on the cherry tree, 
To meet the warrior who returns from war. 

The Juggler 

Sir Warrior, your philosophy is wise. 

A soldier sees in every tavern drab 

A Hebe, and the nectar of her lips 

Is sweet and leaves no bitterness behind. 

The soldier's love is very free from care ; 

He shares the sacrament of bird and beast. 

And greatly he enjoys the miracle ! 

The Soldier 

A fig for miracles ! I love a lass, 

I love a fight ; — a fig for foolish dreams ! 

The Merchant 

The greater fools are you who seek the wars. 
Endure the hardships of the rough champaign. 
And sweat and labour, bufTettcd and starved. 
And win but festering wounds and grisly scars 
For all reward, or else untimely die, 
So that an idle king may loll at case 
And dwell secure in rooted indolence. 
One thing alone is worth the toil of search — 
Gold, shining gold, red gold, omnipotent gold ; 

206 



PROSERPINE 

For gold brings lovely lasses, foaming wine, 
Gilt palaces and gems, and brazen galleys, 
Glory and honour and dominion, 
Ease, freedom, friends, and every mortal joy. 

The Soldier 

We soldiers fight for glory, not for gold. 
We fight because we love the clash of steel. 
The shock, the charge, the bristling line of battle ! 
Not all the wealth of Asia buys these things. 

The Merchant 
Such things are sought and won by fools alone. 

The Shepherd 

But there is something greater than renown, 
Than gold, than glory and dominion ; 
Love, mortal love ; to him who loves, the world 
Is fairyland and then is Paradise. 

The Monk 

Shepherd, your words are true, for power and 

glory 
Are like the changing mist ; or flakes of snow 
That melt and vanish when they touch this earth. 

The Juggler 

Yet nothing drags man's soul to certain doom 
So swiftly as this love of which you tell. 

207 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Monk 

I preach not earthly love, but love divine ; 

For he who loses all upon this earth 

And tramples on his dreams of power and glory 

And stifles longing, lust and all desires. 

He finds eternal love, the love of God. 

Love infinite that wrappeth up the whole. 

The Shepherd 

liut, holy man, the love divine you preach 
Shields and enfolds a mortal's earthly love. 

The Monk 

My child, the love of mortals is a snare, 

A gilded picture painted by the Devil 

To lure the soul to everlasting fire. 

For lovers in the flesh are doomed and damned 

To outer darkness and unending flames. 

The Juggler 

And faithless lovers in the fires of Hell 
Shall kindle one another's dead desire. 

The Soldier 

Our business is to live, as men should live. 
When life is ended, God shall deal with us. 

208 



PROSERPINE 

The Juggler 

You put away the thought of death ; you shun it. 
But there is none who hears unterrified 
His footfall and the hissing of his scythe. 

The Old Man 

There is a tournament where Death himself 
Answers the challenge of a mortal knight, 
And meets him in the lists. 

The Juggler 

Death wins the fight. 

The Old Man 

He who would win needs more than fearlessness. 

He must renounce all longing for the day, 

Desire the life in death ; thus only he 

Who vanquishes and kills his love of life 

And longs for Death and for the life in death. 

Shall vanquish Death. 

The Juggler 

To vanquish Death he dies. 
Where is the conquest, what the victory ? 

The Old Man 

He who shall vanquish Death shall live and love 
In death, and Death shall have no hold on him. 
p 209 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Juggler 

'Tis better to be vanquished than to win ; 
What is the profit for a gibber' ' t. 
For rattling bones, to live and . _ .:. Hell ? 

The Old Man 

I fought myself in that grim tournament. 
I loved ; I thought my love was strong as Death ; 
But when the trumpets sounded in the lists. 
And bony Death came rattling on his steed, 
I turned towards the sunny world, and fear, 
Fear crept into the corners of my heart ; 
I durst not ride into the dreadful lists, 
I durst not meet the i<>c — I was afraid. 

The Soldier 

Vou were no coward to refuse to fight : 
'Flic bravest man fears Death. 

The Old .Man 

I challenged him, 
I feared to fight ; I paid the penally. 
Bitter and long has been the punishment ; 
I wander restless o'er the changing world, 
Aching and wear)-, and I find no rest. 
For Death has shut his gates upon my soul. 

The Prince 
But had you fought and failed f 

210 



PROSERPINE 
The Old Man 

I should have died 
And found forgetfulness. 

The Prince 

And had you vanquished ? 

The Old Man 

I still should unforgetful live in Death. 

The Juggler 
A living dog is better than a ghost. 

The Monk 

Your talk is blind with error and with sin ; 
Repent, and you shall find eternal rest 
In Heaven, and everlasting happiness. 

The Merchant 
Both Heaven and Hell are here upon the earth. 

The Juggler 

Wait till you hear the waving of Death's wings, 
The roaring of the furnaces of Hell. 

211 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Soldier 

The sun is high in the heavens, so fare you well ; 
Tm for the city, I am for the wars. 

To fight the Emperor of the Orient ; 

So fare you well. Good luck to you, my friends. 

The Mlrchant 

My argosies await me in the port, 

Stout bales of prcci(;us stuff, pearls from Ceylon, 

Nuggets of metal, tusks of ivory. 

And amber and Ph<L-nician spikenard. 

The Monk 

And I am for the windy pinnacles ; 
I go to intercede for your sick souls. 
To mortify my flesh, to watch and pray. 

The Old Man 

1 am once more for, Oh ! the endless road. 

Thk Juggler 

I go to juggle — with the souls of men. 

[Thk Merchant, The Juggler, The 
Old Man and The Monk go down 
bfhind the hill. The Shepherd and 
The Prince remain. The Prince with- 
draws into thf cypresses by the TempU^ 
where he is half-conceaUd. 

212 



PROSERPINE 

The Shepherd sings : 

The mower at his scythe 

Is vvhistHng in the hay ; 
The world is fair and bhthe, 

O heart, keep holiday ! 

O gaudy month of June, 

O vocal noontide-hours. 
What care I for thy tune ? 

What care I for thy flowers ? 

No more I heed the song 

Of thrush and calling dove, 
For I hear all day long 

The cooing note of love. 

Upon her casement ledge, 

To-day I saw the rose, 
I flung across the hedge, 

Into her orchard close. 

" Thy true love thinks of thee, 
She thinks of thee to-day," 

So spake the rose to me, 
O heart, keep holiday ! 

[Enter Heartsease 

The Shepherd 

At last, O fairest ! I have waited long. 

213 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Heartsease 
I love you ; tell me that you love me true. 

The Shepherd 
I love you true, Dear heart ! I love you true. 

Heartsease 
If I should die ? 

The Shepherd 

Then I should straightway die. 

Heartsease 

Of if some black misfortune should befall — 
If I grew old and ugly in a night ? 

The Shepherd 

My love would kiss away your tears ; to me 
You will be you, to-morrow and to-day. 
And always, whatsoever fate may bring. 
To mc for ever you arc beautiful. 

Heartsease 

Last night I dreamed of you, and every night 
I dream of you, and in my last night's dream 
We sailed across the ocean in a boat. 
We sailed across the sea to faCryland. 

214 



PROSERPINE 

The Shepherd 
And there we built a castle on a hill. 

Heartsease 
And round the castle there were orchards green. 

The Shepherd 
Where silver apples glimmer through the dusk. 

Heartsease 

And in the castle there is a tall throne 
Whence we look down upon the coloured world. 

The Shepherd 

A hundred nightingales shall sing to us, 
Sing us to sleep beneath the apple-trees. 

Heartsease 
A thousand larks shall wake us in the morn. 

The Shepherd 

The elves shall come and crown you with soft 

dew, 
For you shall be their Queen. 

Heartsease 

And you their King. 
215 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
The Shepherd 

And then, when we grow tired of fa<?r)'land, 
Wc shall C(jmc back and build a little hut 
In Sicily, amidst the corn and vines. 

Heartsease 
Or nestling on the cliff by the blue sea. 

The Shepherd 
And we shall live together till wc die. 

Heartsease 

Haply youMl find a fairer lass than me ; 
Haply ynu will forsake me and forget. 

The Shepherd 

There is no woman beautiful as you 

In the wide world. Oh dear, in all the wt.rld ! 

Heartsease 

And there is none so glorious as my love. 
I love you then, my joy, my good delight ! 

[From the TcmpU a sound of singing is 
heard 

Heartsease 

Come, let us go ; I hear the sound of voices. 

[They go up into the hills 
216 



PROSERPINE 
The Prince 

First love of mortal men ! Great ecstasy, 

And seal of human things ! I dreamt a dream — 

Oh ! I shall put away my sullen thought, 

I shall go back into the noisy world 

And find soft eyes to watch me, and sweet lips 

To smile, embracing arms and a warm heart ; 

I shall forget my melancholy dream. 

[The Maidens come out of the ^emfle 
and walk down behind the hill out 
of sight except Rosemary, who walks 
down the Temple steps. 

Rosemary 

Why do you linger in this place of shadow ? 
Go to the world and find felicity. 

The Prince 
Why do you bid me go ? 

Rosemary 

Because I love you. 
I love you, and I fear to do you harm. 

The Prince 

At last the veil is lifted from my eyes ; 
My deep and burning thirst is quenched at last. 
And stilled the fiery restlessness within 
That all my life has sore tormented me. ' 

217 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

I love you. I have loved you all my life ; 
This face has haunted me in countless m 
In every sight ui earth and sea and sky ; 
This voice has haunted me in every sound. 
Now all is clear. 

Rosemary 
Then if you love me, go. 

The Prince 

I will not go. My heart's desire is here. 
Soft is the shipwreck in tiiis sea of dream. 

Rosemary 
My love is (overshadowed by black wings. 

The Prince 
My love is strong enough to conquer Death. 

Rosemary 
Leave me and seek the Tournament of Life. 

The Prince 

I love you for your sorrowful soft eyes, 
I love you for your pale unaltered face, 
I love you for your wide and dusky hair, 
I love you for your voice which is the world's. 

218 



PROSERPINE 

Rosemary 
I love you, friend, I who have never loved ! 

The Prince 

Long have I dreamed of you throughout the 

world. 
Far have I wandered, seeking for this face ; 
Ah ! I have snatched the mask from many a face, 
Yearning to find the twilight-laden eyes 
That haunted me and never let me rest ; 
Now I have found my dream ; my quest is done. 

Rosemary 

heart's desire, I too have sought for you, 

1 too have sought and found a beckoning dream ; 
I must no sooner find than lose my dream. 
Alas ! that I should lose the long-sought prize ! 
Oh ! would this hour could last, that you and I 
Might wander in deep woods for evermore. 
Lost in the thickets of a leafy gloom. 

For you are like the spirit of the woods, 
The child of the cool forest and its ways. 

The Prince 

And you are like the music of the trees, 
The notes of calling flute and mellow horn, 
That echo in the woodland far away. 

219 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Rosemary 

O precious vision, O fugitive frail dream ! 

would that you could last ! O would that wc 
Might hoist your wings f(jr sails, and say farewell 
Forever to the harbours of this world. 

The Prince 

So shall it be. The vision shall come true. 
We shall sail down the estuaries of time, 
And reach the ocean of eternity, 
East of the sun, and westward of the moon. 

Rosemary 

No, no, the dream must cease, and you must go. 
Dark is my destiny. Ah ! question not ; 
As soon as summer dies, I disappear, 
And to my home you cannot follow me. 
For I am plighted to one man alone. 

The Prince 

Who is the man ? Reveal this destiny. 

1 cannot suffer greater hurt than death. 
I cannot leave you now, unless I die. 

Rosemary 

There is one mortal man whom I may love. 
That man must challenge Death and fight with 
him ; 

2 20 



PROSERPINE 

That man must vanquish Death, and if he fails 

He dies, he passes to obHvion ; 

He wanders, lost to me for evermore. 

And many knights have fought for me and fall'n 

Thus was I loth to tell the mystery, 

Lest, like the others, you should fight and fall. 



The Prince 
But I shall challenge Death and vanquish him. 

[Rosemary looks at The Prince and 

bows her head 
In the distance the shepherd's pipe is 

heard. 

Rosemary 

The careless shepherd plays upon his reed. 
The reapers rest beside the sunburnt corn, 
The bee about the lily softly hums. 
The maidens dip the pitcher in the well. 
Through leafy ways the groaning wagons creak 
Drawn by the slow white oxen, and the swain 
Upon his fragrant load lies fast asleep. 
The heat is twinkling o'er the yellow fields, 
A myriad grasshoppers, the croaking frogs 
Make music, while the mailed dragonflies 
Poise o'er the glassy stream ; the world is bright, 
The world is joyous, and the world is fair, 
And pleasant are the noises of the noon. 

221 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
The Prince 
I crave the silence of a sunless world. 

Rosemary 

Sweet is the fragrance of the wild white rose, 
The honeysuckle and the new-mown hay. 

The Prince 
I crave the scentless slumber-laden flowers. 

Rosemary 

Soft are the hollow wood-notes of the dove, 
And low the flight of swallows in the dusk. 

The Prince 
I crave the woods unvexed by noise of wings. 

Rosemary 

Glad is the sight of scarlet-flaunted fields, 
The waving wheat, the dancing corn-flowers. 
The summer lightning and the falling stars, 
The flickering of the fireflies in the wheat, 
The hot green spaces of midsummer darkness. 
Can you forego for ever these fair sights ? 

The Prince 
The sights I need arc mirrored in your eyes. 



PROSERPINE 

Rosemary 

The sighing of the wind, the whispering sea, 
The noise and laughter of the busy street. 
The song of lovers and the shepherd's reed. 
Can you forego for ever these sweet sounds ? 

The Prince 

The sounds I need are echoed in your speech ; 
The sights and sounds of life shall pass away, 
And in the sunless place, for you and me 
There shall be no more life and no more death. 
No days, no hours, no seasons and no time, 
But only love for all eternity. 

[Heartsease is heard singing behind the 
trees : 

He came from Palestine last night, 

At set of sun he came ; 
Behind the casement shone for him 

My silver lamp's thin flame. 

He had forgot the ancient sign. 

And heedless he passed by 
The garden, where a year ago 

We watched the swallows fly. 

I heard him whistle in the lane, 
I watched him from my bed, 

I saw him pass the garden gate ; 
He did not turn his head. 
223 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

They said that I must surely die 
Before the spring had come, 

But I knew well that I should live 
Until my love came home. 

He came from Palestine last night, 

And he is glad and well ; 
And I have naught to wait for now. 

" False love, dear love, farewell ! " 



ACT III 

The Tern pit', as in Act I 

It IS autumn. The hills are parched by the heat 
The distant trees are red, brown and gol: 
The ground is strexvn with falUn Leaves. It 
is late in the afternoon. The sun is low tn 
the heavens. Lily of the Valley and The 
Maidens are discovered^ moaning on the 
steps of the Temple. 

[Enter The Merchant, The Old Man, The 
Juggler, The Shepherd, and The Soldier 

The Shepherd 

What evil fortune has befallen you, 
That you lament together, maidens, so ^ 

224 



PROSERPINE 
Lily of the Valley 

Our loved companion, Rosemary, has fled. 

She, whom they named the Priestess ; she most 

fair, 
Most gentle and most sad. Last night together 
We brought the dying summer's rusty spoil 
Unto the temple, and we left her here 
And tarried for her underneath the hill. 
For in the temple she'd make melody 
Until the set of sun. When twilight fell, 
Lo ! Rosemary had vanished, vanished too 
The flowers upon the altar. Far and near 
We sought and called in vain for Rosemary ; 
Again to-day we searched the country-side. 
In vain, for Rosemary has left no trace. 

The Shepherd 

Last night when sunset burned beyond the trees, 
I met a hooded maiden bearing branches ; 
She wore a sable robe, but her pale brow 
Was garlanded with poppies. 

Lily of the Valley 

Rosemary 
Was clad like us in garb of festal colour. 

The Shepherd 

Haply she wanders on the windy hills. 
Q 225 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
The Merchant 

In vain you seek her on the windy hills ; 
Go to the glittering city ; 'tis the place 
Where comely maidens find their heart's desire. 

Lily of the Valley 

This temple was the home of Rosemary — 
And in this temple was her heart's desire. 

The Juggler 
Your search is vain. She will return no more. 

Tmf. Soldier 
Haply she went to see the tournament. 

Lily of the Valley 
What tournament ? 

The Soldier 

Within the sea-girt city, 
The far-famed tournament cf Life and Death 
Was fought to-day before King Pharamond. 

The Old Man 

And to-day's tournament throughout the world 
Shall be renowned until the end of time. 
For Death was vanquished by Mortality. 

226 



PROSERPINE 

The Soldier 

We soldiers oft need all our bravery 

To fight the living ; this man fought with Death. 

Lily of the Valley 
Who vanquished Death ? 

The Old Man 

An unknown knight. 

The Merchant 

Some say 
It was the lost betrothed of the Princess, 
Who fought to win forgiveness and new love. 

The Old Man 

That cannot be, for when black-armoured Death 
Fell rattling from his steed, a skeleton. 
When that loud crash of thunder filled the air. 
When the knight took the coal-black plumes of 

Death 
And marching to the maiden in her place, 
Received of her the crown of victory, 
With eyes that did not look he grasped the laurel, 
And left the lists. He was so heedless, He ; — 
Nor set the leaves upon his conquering brow, 
Nor cast one glance upon the peerless face. 

227 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
The Shepherd 

Haply he loved another, now as then, 
I gazed on the Princess, and when the knight 
Took with averted eyes the crown of leaves, 
A deadly pallor crept across her check. 
She fell in helpless swoon. 

The Juggler 

O foolish boy, 
It was the presence of the kingly fear. 
The icy wind which blows from Death's broad 

stream, 
That overcame her. And it was the sight 
Of Death arrayed in armour forged in Hell, 
Prancing upon a terrible war-horse, shod 
In workshops of the damned, that scared he: 

thus. 

The Old Mas 

Perchance. It did not scare the fearless knight. 

The Shepherd 

She swooned for joy because the knight had won. 
She swooned for sorrow that he went away. 

The Juggler 

She swooned for fear of the armed skeleton ; 
To feel the darkness of the outer place 
Where the damned souls wander in agony. 

228 



PROSERPINE 

The Shepherd 

There is a quiet place beyond the grave 
Where happy souls shall taste felicity. 

The Merchant 

Within the grave is darkness and the dust, 
And never-ending sleep. The talcs of Hell 
And Paradise are made to frighten babes. 

The Juggler 

There is a place of bartering and no speech. 
There you shall traffic with dim merchandise. 
For ever shall you pile a hoard that fades, 
For ever tell the tale of phantom gold, 
And filled for ever with unquenched desire 
And despair permanent, you, in that place, 
Shall curse the dream that mocks but cannot cease. 
There is a place where you, young Sick o' love, 
Shall pipe to hags and upon fiery hills. 
There is a place where you, tall, soldier-thing. 
Shall charge the unsubstantial hosts of night 
For ever, and for ever fail to charge. 
And know defeat in battles never joined. 
And hear such foemen as you shall not see. 

The Soldier 

I have fought fairly on this earth ; the gods 
Shall fairly deal with me ; unterrified, 
At least, the knight who conquered Death himself 
Shall dwell in Death's abode. 

229 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Juggler 

O simple soldier 
His of all fates the most unhappy fate ! 
For he shall die, and that right speedily ; 
Upon this world his fortune was despair. 
Despair shall be his lot beyond the grave. 

The Old Man 

The man who conquers Death, albeit he die, 
Is freed for ever from all restlessness. 

The Shepherd 

The sun is sinking, and the mist of night 
Is full of shapes immortal. It is cold. 

Lily of the Valley 
Methought I heard ihc voice of Rosemar)'. 

The Juggler 
Far beyond earthly hail is Rosemary ! 

Lily of the \'alley 

Begone, false juggler ! hateful is your speech, 
Loathsome your laughter and the sight of you. 
This is a holy place. The shadows fall ; 
It is not good for mortals to be here ; 
You will offend immortal Proserpine. 
Begone, I pray you. Leave me to my grief. 

230 



PROSERPINE 
The Soldier 



She speaketh true. Come, sirs, let us be stirring. 
Come, leave her to her grief. 

The Juggler 

Your Rosemary 
Has haply met a witch's fiery doom. 



The Shepherd {To Lily of the Valley) 

May the gods bless you and requite your prayer. 
[They all go except Lily of the Valley, 
who walks up to the Temple 

Lily of the Valley 

I hear the faery voices in the wind ; 
The evening deepens, the forbidden hour 
Is nigh. I must not desecrate the place. 
O, Rosemary, come back to me once more ; 
O, Proserpine, give back our Rosemary ! 

\She goes out. Proserpine walks from the 
cypresses on to the steps in her true 
shape^ in all her glory and, majesty. 
She is clothed in dark draperies and 
wears a wreath oj scarlet poppies. Below 
the Temple steps the ghosts oj the dead 
rise and how down before her., and are 
heard singing : 

231 



DRAMATIC POEMS 
Chorus of Ghosts 

The swallow seeks the southern land again, 
The trees, but not the cypress and the pine, 
Are splashed and dyed with autumn's crimson 

stain ; 
Come back unto thy dead, Queen Proserpine. 

The fruit has fallen from the orchard trees. 
And on the mountain-ash red berries shine ; 
The ship awaits thee and the ghostly breeze : 
Come back unto thy dead, Queen Proserpine. 

The golden wheat was garnered long ago. 
And ended is the harvest of the vine ; 
Through ragged woods the winds of autumn 

blow ; 
Come back unto thy dead, Queen Proserpine. 

Forsake the sunburnt hills of Sicily, 
The laughter and the song, the flower)- shrine. 
Hark ! in the wind the wandering spirits sigh : 
Come back unto thy dead. Queen Proserpine. 

[The Prince is daz^d and dazzUd by her 
appearance, and kneels before her. 

Proserpine 

I am Queen Proserpine whom, till to-day. 
You knew but in a mortal guise, and now 
Behold in her unclouded majesty 

2 ■? 2 






PROSERPINE 

And undiminished splendour ; to the earth 
I came with the return of spring, and now 
I go, with dying summer, to the dark. 

The Prince 

Lady of Darkness, I have conquered Death ; 
Here is the Helm of Death, and here the crown. 

Proserpine 

You do not wear the crown of victory, 

The crown of life, which you did nobly win ; 

What do you crave instead for recompense ? 

The Prince 

To follow to your everlasting home. 
To dwell for ever in the dream of you. 
This is the only recompense I crave — 
Ah ! you know well what is my heart's desire. 

Proserpine 

In my pale kingdom on a pillared throne, 
I shall be far removed from you, for you 
Shall dwell amid the myriads of the dead ; — 
They may not even see my royal face. 
And only you, of all the endless host. 
Shall unforgetful gaze on Proserpine. 
Will you receive that for your recompense ? 

233 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

The Prince 

I shall behold your changeless face and dwell 
For ever in the dream and sight of you, 
For ever in the thought and light of you, 
For ever in the shadow of your soul, 
For ever in the stillness that is you, 
Remembering all that was ; far ofi, but near, 
Beyond the reach of Life and Death and 

Time, 
And linked by chains of silent song to you. 
And though the rivers and the plains of Hell 
Between us lie, if I behold this face, 
I shall be one with your wide majesty. 
And with your mute and dark dominion one, 
One with your pale, your glimmering loveliness. 
One with your sorrow endless and divine, 
One with the vastness of your silver dream. 
One with your deeps of silence infinite, 
And one with your eternal life in death. 

Proserpine 
So shall it be. 

The Prince 

Beyond the silent stream 
I shall behold you far upon your throne. 

Proserpine 
So shall it be. 

234 



PROSERPINE 

The Prince 

I shall behold your face, 
And I shall share the sorrow of your dream, 
And you shall feel my infinite desire. 

Proserpine 

Yet shall we be eternally apart. 
Eternally asunder and apart. 

The Prince 

Eternally divided and apart. 

And yet my soul shall, like a drop of dew, 

Dwell in the inmost petals of your soul. 

Proserpine 

Eternally asunder and yet near, 

Together, though eternally apart, 

So shall it be, according to your choice. 

For you have conquered Death, and you can 

choose 
The fruit of darkness or the fruit of light, 
The apple or the slumberous pomegranate. 
So take this apple, take this pomegranate. 
Await on earth the footfall of the spring. 
Then, when the rapturous earth awakes from 

sleep 
And calls the summer to make love to her, 
Look round and hear the music of the spring, 

235 



DRAMATIC POEMS 

Look round and heed the glory of the world. 
The pastures, the fresh woods, the cloudy hills, 
The murmurous cities and the smiling sea ; 
If on that day yrju still shall crave the dark. 
The silence and the sorrow of my dream, 
Taste the pomegranate ; you shall sleep to wake 
Within my shadow ; but if smiling life 
Be sweet to you, then taste the golden fruit. 
You shall forget the dream of Proserpine, 
And live contented in the world of men. 
And with the spring I shall return once more, 
And I shall love you with a mortal's love, 
And you shall love me with a mortal's love, 
With all a mortal's ecstasy of love, 
With all a mortal's swift forget fulness. 
And when the summer dies, and I once more 
Return to the dark realm, you shall forget ; 
And, fancy-free, shall seek and find new joy. 

The Prince 

And if I taste the other darker fruit. 

Will you return with the returning spring ? 

Proserpine 

I shall be unaware of earth and spring, 
I shall forget the vision of the world, 
I shall have found the dream I sought on earth ; 
And lost and drowned in my eternal dream, 
1 nevermore shall seek the earth in spring. 

236 



PROSERPINE 

Chorus of the Dead 

Pale Proserpine descends to her dark home. 
And bow ye dead, bow down, ye voiceless dead ; 
The scentless poppy bends its heavy head. 
And silent is the sluggish 'Stygian foam. 

In the dominion of the silent air 
The shivering dead are comfortless and lone, 
For Proserpine upon her pillared throne 
Heedless beholds perpetual despair. 

Pale Proserpine is mournful even as they. 
For she remembers sweeter sound and sight ; 
In vain she seeks the world in the sweet spring, 
Her sojourn there is darkened by Death's wing, 
Even as her dream within the halls of night 
Is cursed by the remembrance of the day. 

Proserpine 

Farewell. I go to my dominion, 

East of the sun and westward of the moon ; 

But you await the coming of the spring. 

[Proserpine walks into the Temple. 



JOHN DAVIDSON 



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